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Full text of "A great "Punch" editor, being the life, letters, and diaries of Shirley Brooks"

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LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 

RIVERSIDE 




By kind permission of "The Ilhistrated London Sews' 



A 

Great "Punch" Editor 

Being the Life, Letters, 
and Diaries of 

SHIRLEY BROOKS 



By 

GEORGE SOMES LAYARD 



LONDON : SIR ISAAC PITMAN & SONS, LTD. 
NO. 1 AMEN CORNER, E.C. *> J»» 1907 



d7L3 



Printed by 

Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, Ltd.. 

Bath. 

(2297) 



I Dedicate this 

Book 

TO MY Friend 

Marion H. Spielmann 



Preface 




UTY and pleasure demand 
a word of thanks to 
those who have lent 
their co-operation in the 
production of this book. 
First and foremost must 
be mentioned Mr. Henry 
Silver, an early friend 
and colleague of the sub- 
ject of this Biography, 
lacking whose generous 
contributions this volume 
would be shorn of a great 
part of the value which 
I hope it may possess. 
Next must be mentioned 
my friend, Mr. M. H. Spielmann, without whose 
" History of Punch " the biographer of a Punch man 
would be like a sailor in an oarless boat on an 
uncharted sea. Others whom I cannot sufficiently 
thank are Mr. H. C. Venning, Lieut. -Colonel Gaskell, 
Mrs. Jopling Rowe, Mr. Frith, R.A., Sir Francis 
Burnand, Miss Fergusson, Mr. Herbert Jones of 
Oswestry, the Messrs. Roche, the well-known London 
booksellers, Messrs. Macmillan & Co., Miss Matthews, 



PREFACE 

Lady Romer, Mr. J. Parry Jones, Mrs. Panton, Miss 
Nathalie Brooks, Mr. Charles W. Brooks, Mr. H. W. 
Sabine, Mr. G. Goodman, Miss Ellen Terry, Mr. Sidney 
Jennings, Mr. W. L. Fleming, Mr. Donald Masson, Lady 
Hardman, Miss Ella Hepworth Dixon, Mr. James 
Murren, Mr. William Downing, Mr. W. H. Doeg, 
Mr. Florian Williams, Mr. C. L. Graves, Mr. George 
Dunlop, Mr. A. Abrahams, Mr. du Maurier, Miss 
Oakley, Dr. E. S. Tait, my friend, Mr. Walter Frith, 
who has most kindly looked through my proofs, and, 
last but not least, the Proprietors of Punch, who, 
besides putting letters at my disposal, have generously 
given me permission to make use of the delightful 
initial letters which adorn these pages. In conclusion, 
I should be wanting in common gratitude were I 
not to put on record the invaluable secretarial help 
I have received from Miss Marion Christ opherson. 

G. S. Layard. 

Bull's Cliff, 

Felixstowe, 1907. 



VI 



Contents 

CHAPTER|I 

PAGE 

1815-1835— Birth— Scheme of Book— Early Influences— 

Oswestry — Law Studies . . . . . . . . 1 

CHAPTER II 

1835-1850 — The Beginning of his Literary Life — The Argus, 
Ainsworth's Magazine, and the Illustrated London News- — 
A Freemason — Cruikshank's Table 5ooA— Friendship with 
Sala — The Era, the Man in the Moon — Shirley as " Poet " 26 

CHAPTER III 

Morning Chronicle — " Russians of the South " — As Theatrical 

Critic — " A Story with a Vengeance " — Angus Reach . . 56 

CHAPTER IV 
Appearance — As Conversationalist . . . . . . 68 

CHAPTER V 

Characteristics (continued) — Love for Children — Sympathy — 
Birthdays — Generosity — Modesty — Industry — Writing to 
the Papers — Dreams — As Letter- writer — " Alton Locke " 85 

CHAPTER VI 
Punch and the Punch Table . . . . . . . . 100 

CHAPTER VII 
The Punch Table (continued) — The " Essence of Parliament " 113 

vii 



CONTENTS 
CHAPTER VIII 



PAGE 



1852-1854 — " A Story with a Vengeance " — " Aspen Court " 
— Benlley's Miscellany — Marriage with Miss Emily 
Walkinshaw — Clubs — Birth of his Sons and their Fate . . 124 

CHAPTER IX 

1853-1856— The Crimea — " Dagon " — Percival Leigh- 
Horace May hew — " The Gordian Knot " — Generous Help 
from Messrs. Bradbury & Evans — Story of Spurgeon — 
" Poem by a Perfectly Furious Academician " — The 
Deceased Wife's Sister — An Armed Passage with Richard 
Bentley— Mr. W. P. Frith—" Cottle " . . . . . . 135 

CHAPTER X 

1857-1860 — Tennyson's Bust and Trinity College, Cambridge 
— " The British Lion's Vengeance on the Bengal Tiger " — 
" Amusing Poetry " — Death of Douglas Jerrold — John 
Cordy Jeaffreson — Birth of Cecil Brooks — Autograph 
Hunters — Shirley's Bust in the Academy — Once a Week— 
Napoleon III as the " French Porcupine " — Death of 
Macaulay — Percival Leigh — Spiritualism — Shirley as 
Lecturer — The Volunteer Association—" The Silver Cord " 
— His Shortcomings as Novelist — Thackeray — Miss Annie 
Thackeray (Mrs. Ritchie) . . . . . . . . 154 

CHAPTER XI 

1861-1863 — 6 Kent Terrace — Harriet Martineau — Literary 
Pensions — " Poet " Close — Holywell Street — The Prince 
Consort — " Timour the Tartar " — " The Card Basket " — 
Letters — " Sooner or Later " — Why Shirley Failed as 
Novelist — Nursery Rhymes — The Musical World — Death 
of Thackeray — Bust in Westminster Abbey . . . . 180 

CHAPTER XII 

1864 — The Shakespeare Tercentenary — A Royal Recluse — 
" Judy Parties " — Letters — The Autograph Fiend — The 

viii 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 



Anglo-Danish Question — Gout — Hymn to St. Trophimus 
— " Sooner or Later " — A " Breeze " with Messrs. 
Bradbury & Evans — Illness and Death of Leech — Advent 
of du Maurier to the Table . . . . . . . . . . 208 

CHAPTER Xni 

1865 — The Diaries — The Christening of the Two Boys — Death 
of Abraham Lincoln — Punch's Great Recantation and the 
Question of its Authorship . . . . . . . . 227 

CHAPTER XIV 

1865 (continued) and 1866 — Health— Earnings — Work— The 
Leigh Murray Benefit — At Scarborough with the Friths — 
Punch's " Table Talk " — Death of Lord Palmerston — The 
Agnews — Lectures at Oswestry — The Year's Earnings — 
Letters to Mr. and Mrs. Frith — The Censorship of Plays — 
Artemus Ward — Letters to Percival Leigh — Punch's 
Golden Wedding — Governor Eyre — Boulogne — Dieppe — 
C. H. Bennett— Parting Kick to 1866. . . . . . 249 

CHAPTER XV 

1867-1868 — The Tomahawk — Death of Charles Bennett — 
Summer Holidays — Letters to Bradbury — Letters to 
Mr. Frith — Ramsgate — Home News — Letters to P. Leigh 
and Mrs. George — " Ponny " Mayhew's Dinner — Mrs. 
Frank Romer (Mrs. Jopling Rowe) — Letters to P. Leigh . . 296 

CHAPTER XVI 

1869 — Diary, et passim — Financial Position — Letters — 
Mr. Levy's Party — Linley Sambourne — Harriet Martineau's 
" Biographical Sketches " — J. R. Robinson — Ernest 
Jones, Chartist — Death of Keeley — Cartoons — Gout — 
Mrs. Frank Romer — Royal Academy Dinner — Hieroglyphic 
Letter from du Maurier — Percival Leigh — Lord Derby — 
Alex. Munro — Lord Lytton — Grisi — A Sharp Warning — 
Illness .. .. .. .. .. ..322 

ix 



CONTENTS 
CHAPTER XVII 



PAGE 



1870 — Last Days of Mark Lemon — His Death — Editorship of 
Punch Offered to S. B. and Accepted — Death of Charles 
Dickens — S. B.'s Inauguration — " Gone ad majores," 1870 387 

CHAPTER XVIII 

1871 — Mrs. Lynn Linton's Contribution to Punch — Letters to 
Miss Matthews and W. Hepworth Dixon — The Germans 
Enter Paris — Mrs. Lemon's Pension — The Census — Private 
View of the Royal Academy — Letters to Percival Leigh — 
The Tichbome Case — A Large Evening Party at 6 Kent 
Terrace — George Biddell Airy — A Punch Dinner at 10 
Bouverie Street — Walter Scott Centenary — Harrogate — 
Letters to Percival Leigh, W. H. Bradbury, du Maurier, 
Mrs. F. Romer, and Mrs. Hardman — Serious Illness of the 
Prince of Wales — " Bombastes Furioso " . . . . 434 

CHAPTER XIX 

1872 and 1873 — A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries — 
Letters to Miss Matthews and G. du Maurier — Harrogate 
and the Rev. John Oakley — Serious Illness of Reginald — 
Letters to the Rev. John Oakley, Mrs. Hardman, Miss Kate 
Fergusson and Percival Leigh — Visit to Gadshill — 
Copyright Reform — Prize-giving at the International 
College — Folkestone and Brighton Visits — Death of 
Landseer — " A Birthday Acrostic " to Miss Kate Fergusson 
— " A Breeze " with the Management of the Illustrated 
London News — The Last New Year's Eve Festivities . . 506 

CHAPTER XX 
1874— Last Days— Death . . . . . . 578 



Illustrations 

SHIRLEY BROOKS ..... Frofittspiece 

THE BRITISH LION'S VENGEANCE ON THE BENGAL TIGER 

Facing page 156 

BRITANNIA SYMPATHIZES WITH COLUMBIA . „ 242 

GROUP OF THE PERFORMERS IN THE CHARLES BENNETT 

" BENEFIT " . . . . Facing page 298 

REBUS LETTER FROM DU MAURIER TO SHIRLEY BROOKS IN 

THE POSSESSION OF THE BIOGRAPHER . Facing page 351 

MARK LEMON AND SHIRLEY BROOKS. . . „ 377 

SHIRLEY BROOKS .... „ 459 

INITIAL LETTER, CUT FROM THE PAGES OF " PUNCH," FOUND 
PASTED IN SHIRLEY'S DIARY FOR 1873, WITH THE 
IDENTIFICATIONS OF THE PORTRAITS ADDED IN HIS 

HANDWRITING .... Facing page 560 



XI 



GREAT "PUNCH" EDITOR 



CHAPTER I 

1815-1835 — ^Birth — Scheme of Book — Early Influences — Oswestry 
— ^Law Studies. 

HARLES WILLIAM, better 
known as Shirley, Brooks, 
was born on April 29th, 1815, 
at 52 Doughty Street, London, 
— a street, by the way, of some 
literary interest, for here 
Sydney Smith had lived, here 
at No. 48 Dickens wrote part 
of " The Pickwick Papers," 
here at No. 43 Edmund Yates 
lived, and Tegg,the publisher, 
opposite. He was the eldest 
of the three sons of William Brooks, and Elizabeth, 
eldest daughter of William Sabine, of Islington. 
William Brooks was an architect of some note 
in his day, amongst his more important buildings 

* The initial letters in this volume are reproduced from Punch 
by the generous kindness of the proprietors, Messrs. Bradbury and 
Agnew. In nearly every case they originally decorated " Punch's 
Essence of Parliament," with which Shirley Brooks's name will be 
always identified. 




1 



2— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

being the London Institute and "Dr. Fletcher's 
Chapel " in Finsbury Circus, Dudley Church, and the 
Church Missionary College. He is said to have 
belonged to a good old Nottinghamshire family whose 
pedigree could be traced back to Richard III, and 
included that Laurence Shirley, Earl of Ferrers, who, 
convicted of killing his steward, gaily drove to his place 
of execution behind six cream-coloured ponies. That 
Shirley Brooks put faith in this tradition seems likely 
from his adoption in later years of the " front," for it 
cannot be called the Christian, name by which he will 
always be known. There may, too, have been a further 
reason, but of that more will be said later. 

William Brooks, Shirley's father (born Sept. 9th, 
1786) was a member of the Goldsmiths' Company. 
The date of his marriage, which took place at St. 
Mary's, Islington, was October 16th, 1811, and Charles 
William (Shirley) was there baptized on June 14th, 
1815. 

As to the day of the month of Shirley's birth a few 
words must be added. At least one of his dearest 
friends drinks to his memory on St. George's Day, 
April 23rd, but in his diary for 1869 I find April 29th 
underlined in red ink and marked " Birthday," and 
by that I take my stand, particularly as birthdays 
were, as we shall see, matters in which to the end of his 
life he took the keenest interest. No doubt the confu- 
sion as to the day arose from his habit of alluding to 
" Shakespeare's and my birthday," which was one of 
his characteristic little jokes, and April 22nd or 23rd 
is that generally adopted as the birthday of the great 

2 



BIRTH 

dramatist. Curiously enough, by happy chance, I find 
him traversing the accuracy of this date in " Punch's 
Essence of Parhament " for April 30th, 1864, in the 
following words : — 

** Saturday. Mr. Punch published his Tercentenary 
number in honour of Shakespeare, whose birthday this 
either was or was not, most likely the latter, firstly, 
because babies are not usually christened on the third 
day ; secondly, because New-Style brings the alleged 
birthday to the 3rd of May, and, thirdly, because there 
was east wind in spite of the heat, and Mr. Punch 
had no mind to march in procession, or do anything 
except contemplate with ecstasy his own magnificent 
picture of his own Shakespearian procession." 

From which it is easy to see that Shirley could make 
the date of Shakespeare's birthday coincide with his 
own without doing any very serious violence to 
historical accuracy. 

Of Shirley Brooks's childhood and early youth there 
is little to record. The reasons for this it will be well 
to state at once, and they are rather tragical, seeing 
that he himself had taken particular pains from a very 
early date in his career to store up material for writing 
an autobiography which, judging from what has 
survived the general wreck, would, had his life been 
spared, have proved of outstanding interest. 

By a strange and painful fate his immediate branch 
of the family has, in the thirty years since his death, 
been wiped off the face of the earth, and letters, 
diaries, and other treasured documents have been 
destroyed or scattered to the four winds. It is true 
that some have come to hand, and those by good fortune 

3 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

of exceptional interest, but they are but the disjecta 
membra of what should have proved a complete 
body of very real importance and literary value. 
Owing to circumstances upon which it is unnecessary 
to dwell, but which reflect no discredit either on the 
subject of this biography or on his surviving relatives, 
those of the family who are now living had no personal 
intercourse with the Shirley Brookses. Thus it comes 
about that there was no one to become the natural 
depositary of Shirley's literary remains, no one whose 
pious duty it was to preserve the memorials of his life 
and work. This is matter for regret and that is all 
that need be said. 

Of Shirley's own intention to write his autobiography 
there can be no doubt. He had kept elaborate diaries 
for at least twenty-five years and had even gone so 
far as to make notes and excerpts from them in a 
separate volume expressly to that end. Here, too, he 
had identified much of his unsigned work, which 
cannot now be earmarked. Not that on this score 
we have much reason to complain, for it is rather with 
the man than with his literary work that we are 
concerned. Our chief regret at the loss of this epitome 
lies in the fact that, lacking it, we are faced with periods 
in his life concerning which little information is 
obtainable, and again other periods in which facts, 
sensations and experiences crowd upon us almost to 
bewilderment. Fortunately for us, the years imme- 
diately preceding his short editorship of Punch, and 
those crowning four years during which he controlled 
its destinies, arc fully represented from his point of 

4 



HIS REMAINS 

view, and therein must lie the chief social and Uterary 
interest of this volume. 

Some years after Shirley's death all his papers were 
deposited for safe custody with a well-known Oxford 
Street bookseller. Then, shortly before the last sur- 
viving member of the family disappeared into the wilds 
of Australia, they were with a few exceptions demanded 
back, and nothing more is known of them, except that 
certain of the diaries survived and, by devious routes, 
have come into my hands. That more may be in 
existence and may come to light now that interest in 
the man is stimulated is of course possible, but a very 
widely diffused request for material leads me to 
suppose that much cannot have escaped me. 

One other source of indirect information has also 
been dried up. Amongst his most intimate and valued 
friends Shirley Brooks numbered the family of Mr. 
Wilham Powell Frith, R.A. To the " Sissy " Frith 
of those days, now the well-known authoress Mrs. 
Panton, he was in the habit of sending for her amuse- 
ment what he called the " waste-paper basket of 
Punch.'' This collection of letters and rejected manu- 
scripts which would doubtless have thrown many a 
sidehght on this story, was preserved until after his 
death. Then the doubt arose whether much mischief 
might not result should they fall into the hands of 
anyone inclined to make unscrupulous use of them. 
Discretion, and a wise discretion as it eventually 
proved, determined on their destruction. And so 
another mine in which the biographer might have 
worked was closed down for ever. 

5 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

So much for what might have been. Now, one 
word as to the scope and aim of this biography. 

Every one who knows anything about painting 
knows that oil pictures were in early days painted in 
black-and-white and then glazed, i.e., overlaid with 
transparent colours, the result being what is technically 
called chiaroscuro. The moderns have changed all 
this and paint with solid colours, searching above all 
things for hght. Something of the same obtains in 
biography. We are no longer satisfied with the bold 
outlines, the large aspects of a man's life. We want 
detail, we want to have the little lights and shadows 
playing about a man's character, not those great 
masses of light and shade, that make him appear an 
impossible paladin. I shall therefore make no apology 
for presenting Shirley Brooks in minute detail where 
I can, by means of his letters and diaries. For I am 
convinced that by thus putting on the real, solid colours 
I shall give a truer picture of the man than by ever so 
cleverly symbolising his not altogether heroic figure — 
no more heroic, I mean, than most other creatures of 
flesh and blood — by writing of him in the grand and 
impersonal manner of a Plutarch or the " Dictionary 
of National Biography." What he did I shall, of 
course, not ignore, but what he was it shall be my 
particular aim to depict. I do not want to hide 
Shirley Brooks behind his works. It would be better 
indeed than this to ignore his works altogether. The 
painter of Nature does not want so much to show 
Nature doing something, as Nature being something. 
And I would show my man as he was, not merely as 

6 



EARLY INFLUENCES 

he appeared to the world, doing his Hterary athletics 
in the Man in the Moon, Punch, the Illustrated 
London News, and his novels. 

Of incident during Shirley's earhest years there is 
practically nothing that can be recovered. 

Of the influences by which the boy was surrounded 
we gather something. His father was a man of strong 
religious and anti-Romish convictions. These were 
insisted upon in the text which he caused to be placed 
over a door of the chapel designed by him in Finsbury 
Circus. " There is but one Mediator between God 
and man, the man Christ Jesus," cut in stone, was a 
direct and uncompromising challenge to the hagiolatry 
of an adjoining Roman Catholic place of worship. 
That indicates the spirit of his father, and together 
with the fact that his mother was one of the Sabines, 
an old Nonconformist family, suggests the sort of 
moral atmosphere in which his early years were passed. 

Of his appearance and character as a child we find 
Madame Dorini (Niemann) saying in later days that 
he was the most beautiful boy she ever saw — the kind 
of thing that people do say when a man has assumed 
a prominent position in the world. He himself wrote 
that he " was rather what a mother calls a ' pretty 
boy ' and horribly intelhgent. So people petted me 
and took me out to sights much sooner than was good 
for me. And I rapidly became a blase httle beast 
and found no fun in anything." And in one of his 
diaries he speaks of himself as having been " a 
scape-gracious sort of lad." 

An entry in his diary for 1871 indicates further 

7 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

religious influences. He has turned up a letter from 
" my dear old grandmother Sabine, dated Hastings, 
where she was with my father and aunts, Sept. 17th, 
1827 ... a most kind and piously written letter, 
2J close sides of letter paper ending with a hope that 
I feel ' grateful that means are afforded you whereby 
you may become a useful member of society. That 
the Lord may bless you in whatever situation you may 
in future be placed is the sincere and earnest prayer 
of your affectionate grandmother, Elizabeth Sabine.' " 

Of his education we have the rather indefinite 
information that he was educated at " a public school 
in the City," and more definitely that, probably before 
this, he passed through the hands of the Rev. T. J. 
Bennett, afterwards Sub-Dean of St. Paul's, " whose 
house was opposite to Charles Lamb's cottage on the 
banks of the New River." 

From the meagreness of which details it is suffi- 
ciently obvious that, though we may discover what 
sort of man the boy grew into, we have not much to go 
upon as to the formative influences which conduced to 
his earlier development. 

There is indeed nothing more to be said of him until 
the time arrived for choosing a profession. 

On April 24th, 1832, when he was now in his seven- 
teenth year, we find him serving his articles to his uncle, 
Charles Sabine, solicitor, of Oswestry, nominally for the 
term of five years.* 

This is the first important landmark in Shirley's life. 

* Apparently he went to Oswestrj' in 1830 and left in 1833. 

8 



OSWESTRY 

And fortunately for us, we have set down in black and 
white by his own hand something that will help us to 
a proper understanding of this great step, which was 
to land him " out of the nursery into the limitless 
world." 

A quarter-of-a-century later he took Oswestry as 
the background of his novel, " The Gordian Knot," 
writing of it under the transparent pseudonym of 
" St. Oscars." 

Of his first visit he wrote : — 

" In the time when I first knew it we went thither 
by his Majesty's Mail — red coach — red guard — red 
driver — four spanking horses, which during the night 
were changed, as it seemed to the aroused sleeper, 
every five minutes — snorting horn at the turnpikes in 
the towns — horribly cold feet in the morning — very 
high fares — extortionate fees — good refreshment on the 
road — and everybody heartily glad when the business 
was over." 

Plainly a method of travelling that had its drawbacks 
compared with the best corner in a first-class railway 
carriage, but it had its compensations. You saw 
England, you gained some idea of the face of the 
motherland. " And the few minutes of stoppage in 
the towns were, to anyone who knew how to use them, 
invaluable opportunities for fixing the towns in 
memory for the rest of one's life." 

And Shirley was just the one, with his extraordinary 
memory for details, to make the most of such oppor- 
tunities. He was already stowing away in his capa- 
cious brain material for future use in his destined 

9 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

occupation. But at present Law was his objective, 
Journalism his unsuspected goal. 

In those days Oswestry was something different 
from what it is now. At that time, a London news- 
paper was a luxury subscribed for by a group of neigh- 
bours, and then only arriving in the middle of the day 
following its publication. Now it boasts a newspaper 
of its own, and you can have the Times or Daily Mail 
on the morning of issue. Then it was a little self- 
contained world. Now it is, with the rest of England, 
just a suburb of London. 

Charles Sabine, his uncle, was one of the most 
prominent members of the little community. Originally 
called to the Bar, he had abandoned the senior branch 
of the profession, and, becoming a partner in his 
grandfather's business in 1819, had ever since practised 
as a solicitor. A man of real culture, refined tastes 
and no mean Uterary ability, his influence upon the 
youth who was now to be so closely associated with 
him cannot be over-estimated. 

Many are the stories still current of his eccentricities, 
his enthusiasms, his courage, his strong religious 
convictions. He held pecuHar views as to the second 
coming of Christ. A spare cover was laid at every 
meal. Food and drink were left on the table every 
night, for Christ might revisit the world in the flesh 
at any moment ! 

He was small of stature and had his house fitted with 
low doorways to suit his height, which doorways, by 
the way, do not suit the height of its present occupant. 

Both he and his father were collectors of old oak 

10 



CHARLES SABINE 

when few others took interest in such things. He was 
a Greek scholar, who never allowed his scholarship to 
rust for lack of use. 

Here is Shirley's description of him under the 
transparent guise of " Henry Cheriton " in " The 
Gordian Knot " : " For the oppressed he always 
stood forward as champion ; but, a gentleman by 
birth and bearing, his advocacy never took an offensive 
attitude, and he never triumphed in its success. It 
was less an interference between patron and dependent, 
landlord and tenant, master and servant, than the 
removal of a misunderstanding, and an endeavour to 
convince each that the other had unrecognised good 
qualities." Many indeed complained that Mr. Sabine 
went out of his way to do work which was not germane 
to his business, '' but such complaints passed him as 
the idle wind." He once remarked when told of such 
animadversions : — 

" My profession is a larger one than some people 
seem to understand. It includes a general practice, 
for which I have a licence given from Jerusalem. 
I am sorry folks cannot read it but I can and I know 
my tether." 

Highly strung by nature, he could yet nerve himself 
to conspicuous courage. Of slight strength and build, 
he seemed fearless in the presence of physical danger. 
Substituting Oswestry for "St. Oscars " and Charles 
Sabine for " Henry Cheriton," here is a story of him 
which the neighbourhood will never forget : " There 
was a time when disturbances broke out in the mining 
districts of more than one county adjoining that in 

11 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

which Oswestry stands, and rough and grim men 
collected by the thousand at the sound of horns, heard 
raving sermons by torchlight, and then marched into 
the towns and flooded them with violence and tumult. 
Rumours came that such a visit was to be paid to 
Oswestry, and the magistracy, collecting what force 
they could of j^eomanry and constables, went out to 
meet the rioters. With the authorities rode Mr. 
Sabine, and they took possession of a bridge upon the 
road along which the enemy was to come. They came 
in great force, armed with clubs and missiles, and upon 
perceiving the small array of their opponents uttered 
a yell of derision, and opened a galling shower of stones. 
The Riot Act was read in dumb show, and the lawful 
men were thrown into confusion by the lawless ones, 
and would have speedily fled, when Mr. Sabine spurred 
forward on a white horse, well known at many a home 
where its master had halted to do good, and, riding into 
the ranks of the assailants, seized the leader. On the 
high ridge of the bridge the whole crowd could see the 
slight figure of the lawyer, who held his man in a 
determined grip. Many of them knew him. Others 
were daunted by the daring of the act, and there was 
no more stoning. He then addressed them, and in a 
short, energetic speech pointed out the folly and 
wickedness of their acts, and warned them that, while 
the gentlemen of the district were earnest in their 
desire to assist the working men through their griev- 
ances, no intimidation would be borne with. There 
was something of Sabine's wonted kindliness in the 
address, and before it was well ended the man he had 

12 



CHARLES SABINE 

captured asked leave to speak, and mounting the 
parapet motioned to the mob to retreat. They 
obeyed."* 

There we have a picture of Charles Sabine as a man 
of action, but to leave him there would be to leave him 
in profile. For above all things he was a man of strong 
religious, though tolerant, conviction, one who loved 
the contemplative, whilst bowing to the necessity of 
an active life. By temperament an idealist, he braced 
himself to face realities. By temperament and practice 
a poet and to the last a trenchant pamphleteer, he gave 
the best of his strength to furthering the every-day 
interests of his cHents. With eyes Hfted to the stars, 
he had his feet set firmly on the earth. Compact of 
imagination, he excelled in soundness of judgment. 
Capable of fierce indignation, he could be playful, 
tender as a woman, full of humour. 

An example may be given of the last. Shortly 
before his death he found a friend dihgently counting 
his money. Affecting to retreat, he said with a twinkle 
in his eye, " Oh, I beg your pardon. I see I am 
disturbing your devotions / f " That was characteristic 
of the man, to gild a home-truth with a coating of 
laughter. As the writer of his obituary notice in the 
Oswestry Advertiser well put it : " Spiritual religion 
was the great reality of his life. It crowned all his 
excellences and gave a happy flavour to his natural 
geniality. It combated all that was weak and faulty 
in him." 



* Vide " The Gordian Knot." 

13 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Born of Nonconformist parents and throughout his 
life in formal fellowship with Dissent, he neverthe- 
less approved of the Episcopacy and was a frequent 
worshipper and communicant in the Established 
Church. In this he was not singular amongst Non- 
conformists, not a few of whom approve of Church 
teaching but cannot away with Establishment. His 
sympathies were catholic, his most earnest wish the 
unity of the Church. He deprecated above all things 
the walls of partition in the fold of Christ. He looked 
for the good in things, not the evil. He held fast to 
what he believed to be the ultimate truth that " the 
whole church in heaven and earth are one." It was 
the mainspring of all he did and felt. 

I have been the more particular to give a somewhat 
full account of Charles Sabine, seeing that, amongst 
Shirley Brooks's early influences, this remarkable man 
held foremost place. At the impressionable age of 
seventeen to be admitted to the intimacy of a man with 
such high ideals, such strong individuahty and such 
marked literary taste, was no small piece of fortune 
for one who was soon to find himself adrift on the sea 
of life with good and evil on the right and on the left 
ready for him to choose from according to bias or 
inclination. Of his home influence we can but con- 
jecture something. Of the influences brought to bear 
whilst under his uncle's roof we are able to gather not 
a little. And there is ample evidence to show that this 
influence was not without its effect on his character. 
Strenuously and actively engaged, as he was destined 
to be, in pursuits and under conditions very different 

14 



RELIGIOUS INFLUENCES 

from those which obtained at Oswestry, there is 
evidence in plenty to show that beneath the motley 
of the professional Jester, hidden from all but his more 
intimate friends, he ever wore that which reminded 
him that he was mortal. Living his life to the utmost, 
he yet was not slow to remember that death was round 
the corner. Which, after all, is only to say that the 
King of Jesters is very like other men, playing his part 
before the world, but torn with doubts in secret ; 
fighting to solve the great enigma ; as painfully and 
seriously engaged in the Battle of Life as the most 
serious and conscientious of those who think him but 
a merry-andrew. I do not wish to labour this, but we 
should read Shirley Brooks's life wrong were we not 
to bear in mind that there was through everything, 
in spite of much that was frivolous and trivial, this 
unsuspected undercurrent of Puritanism, perhaps I 
should rather say a sort of shame-faced piety, which 
touched bottom on a strong belief in the benevolence 
and love of the Creator. A sentence from one of his 
later diaries will show what I mean, though many 
others might be cited. It is preceded by the usual 
laconic " wrote for Punch " by which his life was at 
that time punctuated. " Had the pain in my side 
to-day but ' D.E.A.' (vide illumination in my 
bedroom)." 

The pain warned him that he was mortal, but there 
was at any rate something to fall back upon — just the 
shortest confession of faith, illuminated for him by 
a little friend, framed and hung by his bed. Just 
" God is Love," Latinized in his diary, perhaps with a 

15 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

sort of boyish reserve, into " D.E.A." (Deus est Amor), 
but showing, I think, the simple faith of the man who 
outwardly appeared just a thoughtless, worldly, 
laughter-loving wearer of the cap and bells. 

Throughout his life Shirley looked back on his time 
at Oswestry with deep affection, and Oswestry reci- 
procated the sentiment, justifiably claiming him as one 
of its most distinguished sons, if only by adoption. 
Though one of the busiest of men, he never failed to 
communicate to his friends there anything in the 
papers or elsewhere bearing upon the history of a 
community which has always been remarkable for its 
pride and interest in local traditions and associations. 
" As a boy," wrote Mr. Askew Roberts, the editor of 
By-gones, the Notes and Queries of the Cambrian 
Border, " I remember the keen delight we always felt 
when Mr. Brooks came amongst us and took interest 
in our sports. We all loved him, and I have felt it 
indeed an honour for so many years to be favoured 
with communications from him. Although we Oswes- 
trians have only had hasty glimpses of Mr. Brooks of 
late years " (i.e., the sixties and seventies), " his death, 
to all who remember his residence here, has been like 
that of a friend." That was just it. As Jerrold said, 
" He had the faculty of holding people close to him. 
He had a princely memory. He never forgot a face he 
had seen nor the circumstances under which he had 
seen it. . . . This faculty of retention, applied 
industriously to literary pursuits by a man of fastidious 
taste, produced the thorough man of letters." 

And Oswestry was in his mind as he lay on his 

16 



SHROPSHIRE 

death-bed. He had bestirred himself to do something 

for Punch, and with his dying hand penned a set of 

" Election Epigrams." One of these ran : — 

" The pen that now congratulates thee, Cotes, 
Helped to secure thy sire North Shropshire votes," 

recalling the fact that the Mr. Cotes just elected in 
1874 for Shrewsbury was the son of the Mr. Cotes 
elected more than forty years before for North Shrop- 
shire. The powerful brain was fighting against the 
decay of the nearly worn-out body. It recalled how 
he had, as a boy, repeated the phrase " Lord dive's 
Twelve Apostles " applied to the then twelve members 
of Parliament for the county, and how he had been 
remonstrated with for his profanity. It recalled how 
he had ridden out to canvass Lord Godolphin's tenants 
only to find that Lord Clive had ordered them to vote 
for Sir R. Hill and Major Gore, a command which 
they were firmly resolved to obey. And it recalled 
little more before it fell into its last, deep sleep. 

When, in 1859, Charles Sabine died, Shirley showed 
his high appreciation of his friend and uncle, and that 
delicate sympathy which was one of his notable 
characteristics, by the following letter written to his 
cousin, Miss Margaret Sabine. After the usual 

condolences he proceeds : — 

" June 2.8th, 1859. 
"Mr. Minshall, it seems, wrote the notice in the 
Oswestry Advertiser. Some day (if the thought has 
not already occurred to you) I would suggest that 
you might find happiness in preparing some little 
separate memorial of our lost one. No one would (or 
could) do it so well. And if the idea pleases you, and 

17 

S— (at97) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

you do decide on it, you shall let me have this part in 
the matter, that I have the bringing it out, through the 
house of my friends, Messrs. Bradbury & Evans, who 
will do it every justice for my sake and yours. Its cost 
to you (we must speak of such things) shall be the 
postage of your MS. to me — beyond that, not one coin. 
Think of the plan, dear Margaret, when your mind is 
calmed for it. It would give me so much gratification 
to be your agent in such a work. 

" Emily* sends her kindest love to my aunt and your- 
self, and looks gladly forward to the time when she 
shall meet you. So do I. 

" Lastly and leastly, the new periodical Once a Week, 
which Mr. Dickens's conduct has almost compelled his 
old partners to begin, and with which I am closely 
associated, is published this week. Upon rny ' free list ' 
I have placed your name, and I hope that it will not 
be unacceptable to you to receive the work. We hope 
to make a valuable ' property ' of it — the artistic 
talent will be very strong. But it is an experiment. 

" While I write (in the Temple) there is a great 
cannonade at both ends of London. Something to be 
thankful for that it is only in honour of the coronation 
anniversary, and nothing like Solferino, of which, of 
course, everybody is talking, and desiring details. 
The carnage seems to have been terrible, and the 
famous ' Quadrilateral ' of fortresses, the pride and 
hope of Austria, has been broken into. How far the 
reflection will console the households at home, whose 
heads are lying beside the Chiese and the Mincio, one 
dares not guess. Thank Heaven for our wall of sea. 
" Ever, my dear Margaret, 

" Your affectionate cousin, 

" Charles S. Brooks." 

* Mrs. Shirley Brooks. 

18 



TALFOURD 

A few years before, when Shirley was but new to the 
ranks of Punch, he had remembered Mr. Sabine's 
friendship with Talfourd, and catching at the chance 
of affording his uncle gratification and at the same 
time paying a proper tribute to that remarkable 
combination of judge, dramatist and poet, had penned 
the verses from which the following may be quoted : — 

" Dead ! He should have died hereafter, 

Time had come for such a word, 
When the day of fight was over, 

And the triumph-bells were heard. 
Statesman — Minister of Justice — 

Friend of all who needed friend, 
Poet — might he not have tarried, 

Seen our conflict to the end ? 
* * * * 

Gallant heart ! But happier, nobler, 

Hold the doom 'twas his to meet, 
Who — declaring Heaven's own message — 

Died upon the judgment seat. 
On his lip that holy lesson 

All his life had taught, he cried, 
' Help the humble, help the needy — 

Help with Love.' So Talfourd died ! " * 

Not great verses — indeed, mere journalese — but 
prompted by feelings of affection and hero-worship 
pre-eminently characteristic of the writer. 

Shirley further showed his affection for Oswestry 
by contributing in 1848 a story entitled ** The Clans- 
man ; A Tale of the Rebellion," to Oswald's Well, a 
short-lived local magazine. It concluded in the 
December number with these words : — 

* Mr. Justice Talfourd died in Court, March 13th, 1854. 

19 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" We have thus concluded a tale which has been the 
means of renewing, for some twelve months, our asso- 
ciation with a locality of which we shall never think 
without feelings of pleasure and gratitude. If our 
contributing this little romance . . . has been in 
however slight a degree an acceptable tribute to any 
kind friends there, in whose memories we may still 
live, we are more proud of that result than of the most 
choice success we may have been fortunate to have 
obtained elsewhere." 

Again in 1863 we find him eagerly seizing upon the 
opportunity of flattering his old friends by raising a 
psean in Punch in praise of Sergeant Roberts of 
Wem, who had won the Queen's Prize at Wimbledon, 
beginning " Shout jolly Shropshire," and concluding : — 

" Bid thy swift waters break into a gallop, 
Thy salmon leap joyfully up at the flies, 
For prouder than ever henceforth is Proud Salop 

Now Roberts of Shropshire has won the Queen's Prize." 

And again when we come to the events of 1865 we 
shall find him lecturing at Oswestry before a crowded 
audience, and by his efforts clearing off the debt on the 
local Literary Institute. 

Of actual events during his time at Oswestry there is 
but scant record, but that he was pressed into the 
public service of the community is proved by the fact 
that he acted as librarian to the Old Chapel Sunday 
School, of which Mr. Sabine was superintendent. 

Of his reading less than a little is known. Indeed, 
aptly enough, considering the part he was destined 
to play in the world, the only volume that he certainly 

20 



THE THEATRE 

studied at this time was the anonymous " Jokeby," 
then attributed to James and Horace Smith, but about 
the authorship of which doubts have since been raised. 
Of his recreations we catch but a ghmpse. Amongst 
these whilst under his uncle's roof was probably not 
the theatre, for forty years later he writes in his 
diary : — 

" Reading book Macmillan sent. Life of Young, 
the actor, by his son. Pleasant book. I am not quite 
sure as to whether I did not see Young for a moment at 
Oswestry. I know that he came there to act, and 
that ' The Scape-Goat ' was put up, on the anniversary 
of some ' day of national deliverance ' (probably 
Nov. 5th), and the title of the farce hurt my dear 
uncle, C. S.'s, religious feelings, and he issued a counter- 
placard of protest. It was at this time, if any, that I 
saw a big man, wrapped up, leave a carriage, and I 
believe I saw Young, but it was for a moment only. 
F. Fladgate's imitation of him brings him vividly to my 
mind." 

This must have been one of the last appearances of 
Charles Mayne Young, the great comedian, for, though 
he survived to the year 1856, he retired from the stage 
in 1832. 

By and bye Shirley had more than enough of theatre- 
going, but it was probably after the Oswestry time 
that he had the first glimpse of surroundings in which 
he was destined to play so prominent a part. More 
than thirty years later he wrote : — 

" I see that Mrs. R. Honner, actress, is about to take 
a farewell benefit. This reminds me of very old times. 
The first play I ever saw was at Sadlers Wells, when she, 

21 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

then Miss Macarthy, was a sort of star there.* It was 
the * Red Crow.' I went up from the office in John 
Street one hot summer day, and not having much 
money obtained a trifle, from my * uncle,' but not 
J. S. B. In the pit. Remember making a solemn 
note of the incident, and putting it away with the 
playbill, and wondering whether I should be enticed 
into habitual theatre-going, a thing I had been taught 
to fear. Certainly I did go to the play a good deal 
afterwards, and came to write plays, and now it is hard 
work to get me into a theatre. I believe that I used 
to see Mrs. Honner afterwards at the Surrey — an 
energetic little melodramatic." 

I do not find that Shirley was at any time much 
addicted to athletic pursuits. Certainly the writer in 
Cassell's Illustrated Paper for October, 1858, drew 
somewhat upon his imagination when he stated that 
" he became an excellent sportsman with a keen 
relish for country life." 

That he could use a gun is apparent from the follow- 
ing entry in his diary for December 11th, 1873, but 
that he had a keen relish for country life is directly 
negatived by a hundred indications. He was a 
town-bird to the tips of his fingers. 

" Got an auctioneer's paper from Oswestry, setting 
forth that Carreg Llwyd, my Uncle Charles's place, is 
to be offered for sale. Wonder what this means. 
I recollect the house being begun. I had often shot 
fieldfares on its site. But I left Oswestry before my 
uncle moved in." 



* Miss Macarthy was married at the age of twenty-four to Robert 
William Honner, the manager of the Surrey Theatre, in 1836. 

22 



SPORT 

And that his early sporting prodivities were not 
contrary to the wishes of his uncle is proved by a quaint 
piece of evidence which came to hght fourteen years 
after his death. For the following note I am indebted 
to Mr. Parry Jones : — 

" In 1888 the following, in the handwriting of 
Shirley Brooks, was found enclosed in the heel plate 
of a gun sent to a gunmaker to be stocked : * Latronibus 
Admonitio. This paper is enclosed in a hole bored in 
the stock of a gun the property of me the undersigned. 
The gun was given to me in the winter of the year 1830 
by Mr. Charles Sabine, of Oswestry, Shropshire, 
Solicitor. I am a clerk to him and to Mr. Thos. 
Menlove, his partner, both of whom can identify this 
gun as can the persons whose names are written on the 
back. As witness my hand this 15th August, 1831. 

'* ' Charles Wm. Brooks.' " 

Here follow six names all connected with Oswestry, 
together with the quatrain beloved of bibliophiles 
adapted to his purposes : — 

" Steal not this gun for fear of shame 
For here you see its owner's name, 
And when you die old Nick will say 
' Where is that gun you stole away ? ' * 

" Charles Wm. Brooks." 

One result of Shirley's sojourn in Oswestry is to be 
found in the later pages of Punch. The Fleet Street 
hunchback had allowed the habit to grow upon him of 
sneering at all things Welsh, the Eisteddfod included. 
But as Shirley's influence " behind the throne " 

* Accompanying this was the well-known Latin version. 

23 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

became stronger, things took a turn. Elsewhere he 
had written " I cannot but think that too much has 
been inconsiderately said against the Welsh language, 
Welsh literature, and the Welsh habit of mind," and 
now he wrote an address to Wales declaring that : — 

" Punch, incarnate justice, 
Intends henceforth to lick 
All who shall scorn or sneer at you, 
You jolly little brick;" 

and henceforward " the little scoundrel of Fleet 
Street " very well kept his promise. 

That, however, is looking a long way forward, for 
Punch had not yet been even dreamed of, and his 
future editor was struggling to master the intricacies 
of writs, summonses, subpoenas, pleas, demurrers, 
rebutters, rejoinders, surrebutters, and surrejoinders, 
and all the other dreadful things that the archaic body 
of the law was then heir to. 

In the year 1833 he left Oswestry for the office of 
a London cousin, Mr. Sheffield Brooks, where he is 
said to have worked to such purpose that he was placed 
amongst the first four in the earliest batch of candidates 
to be examined at the Hall of the Incorporated Law 
Society, which had but lately received its charter. 
The date of this was 1838, but there is no record of his 
ever having been actually admitted as a solicitor. That 
he did what he did mainly off his own bat appears from 
an entry in his diary for Feb. 19th, 1871, where he 
writes : "I was never directed at all, and yet, 
somehow, I managed to grope and flounder well, and 
was high up in the examination." Though, that he had 

24 



LAW STUDIES 

some coaching is clear from another entry on March 
4th, 1873 :— 

" Saw, I think in yesterday's Times, death of 
Wm. Palmer Parker, the conveyancer, aged 80. This 
was the adviser of J. S. Brooks & Cooper's house. 
I was in constant intercourse with him, and indeed 
read a short time in his chambers before going up for 
my examination as a solicitor. I liked him. He 
stuttered, and was about the ugliest man I knew. 
I think he was some sort of Quaker, yet he one day 
showed me the picture of a very pretty girl, and asked 
me how I liked her." 

It is further evident that he took things fairly easily, 
for, amongst those rare details which have floated up 
from the past, comes the undeniable fact that he and 
one of his fellow-clerks manufactured a backgammon 
board at the bottom of one of the ofhce drawers, " so 
that we could play in peace when we ought to have 
been drawing conveyances — shutting the drawer when 
the gubernatorial foot was heard." 

The rest, so far as his legal studies are concerned, is 
silence. And so we leave him this moment rattling 
his dice, and the next, to outward appearance at 
least, engrossed with the interests of Mr. Sheffield 
Brooks's clients. 



25 



CHAPTER II 




1835-1850— The Beginning of his Literary Life — ^The Argus, 
AinswortJi s Magazine, and the Illustrated London News — 
A Freemason — Cruikshank's Table Book — ^Friendship with Sala 
— ^The lira, the Man in the Moon — Shirley as " Poet." 

EANWHILE Shirley Brooks 
was living with his parents 
in Pleasant Row, Islington, 
not a very luxurious home 
apparently, for there he 
^ occupied a little bedroom 
into which he " descended 
by a sort of ladder." But 
it was for him a very 
important room, for there he penned what curiously 
enough he imagined to be the first verses " of his 
very own " which were to receive the baptism of 
printer's ink. I say " he imagined," for thereby a 
curious tale hangs. The verses appeared in the year 
1834 in Mrs. Cornwall Baron Wilson's Uttle journal, 
the Weekly Belle Assemblee. They were what 
Shirley called nearly forty years later " some young- 
fellow verses, which I thought smart — and they 
described what the satirized world would do in 1835 — 
and what I should do. I remember the noble and 
highly superior levity of the last verse : — 

26 



UNCONSCIOUS PLAGIARISM 

" ' And I shall sit by with a careless eye, 

All changes to me the same, 
And rattle the dice, or star the ice, 

Or wing, or play my game ; 
And when sleep I need I perchance shaU read ; 

Or my quill or my cab may drive — 
And the girl I adore in '34 

I shall worship in '35.' " 

To which he appends a list of notes to the effect that 
he never had a careless eye, but was always very 
enthusiastic ; that the second hne was untrue, because 
he was then as always a hot Tory ; that he never 
rattled the dice then or since except, as we know, to 
play a little backgammon ; that the prophecy failed 
as regards starring the ice, for he had never skated 
since ; that he had never shot a " bird," so " winging " 
his game was out of the question ; * that he never 
attained such luxury as to drive a cabriolet of his own ; 
and that up to that time he had never been in love. 
However, he did not think the verses very much amiss. 
Besides which, they had some importance as the 
advance guard of the innumerable columns of verses 
which were to win him his laurels on many a literary 
field. But here comes the tragedy of the thing. He 
never composed the verses at all. This he found out 
just thirty-seven years later. Then, when he was 
editor of Punch, the fact burst upon him like a thunder- 
clap. He had taken up to bed an old copy of the 
Mirror, published years before the Weekly Belle 
Assemblee had been dreamed of, and there, to his 
dismay, he discovered the verses which he had published 

* Apparently he remembered that field-fares were not " game." 

27 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

over his own name and had always believed to be the 
product of his own originality, printed and published 
with some slight variation over a name which was not 
his ! "I must," he wrote, " have read them, and the 
resolve to surpass them must have come, and been 
acted on, and then I totally dismissed the original 
from my mind, and would, until last week, have sworn 
that I had never seen them. I note this nonsense, 
because it shows how honestly a man may be deceived 
by his own memory, or want of memory." That he 
was perfectly innocent in the matter is obvious. 
Whether he would have been able to prove his innocence 
in a court of law may be doubted. 

It was about this time that Fraser's Magazine first fell 
into his hands and, more especially by its " Gallery of 
Illustrious Literary Characters," excited his ambition 
to become a recruit in the army of the Mighty Pen. 
Referring in after life to William Maginn's " biographico- 
critical " descriptions attached to Machse's portraits, 
there was, as he said, " good smart abuse in some of 
the Maginnery," but that made it all the more piquant, 
for here were all the literary giants of the day getting 
their whippings in public at the hands of the irascible 
Doctor just like any pack of schoolboys, and taking 
their whippings lying down. 

Curiously enough, the only other literary fact that 

floats up from these days was remotely connected, 

though he probably knew nothing about it, with this 

" Randy, brandy, bandy, no Dandy, 
Rollicking jig of an Irishman." 

Maginn had been asked to write Byron's " Life," 

28 



THE CORONATION 

but, though by no means a squeamish person, had 
steadfastly refused, shrinking aghast from what Bates 
called its " hideous apocalypse." And Shirley, 
reading in 1873 the Biography which Maginn had not 
written, recalled how he had heard Daniel Wilson 
preach against the book in Islington Church, adding in 
his diary, " WeU, the story of the Italian life is not 
exactly tea-table reading." As indeed it is not. 

Of literary landmarks there are none other at this 
period, although he was probably then as in later life 
an omnivorous reader. Indeed, of landmarks of any 
sort these years are peculiarly bare, but one date, 
June 28th, 1838, stood out in memory for the rest of 
his life, notable for two things. Firstly, that Queen 
Victoria was crowned. Secondly, that on that day 
"Mr. Pepys " (as he liked to call himself in his diaries) 
" left off shaving his whiskers." 

" Well remember the day," he writes, " and how 
I vainly had tried (knowing nobody) to get a ticket 
for the Abbey, and how, by virtue of a shilling I did 
get in, close behind the John St. party, who had 
tickets from Lord Glenelg, and I saw the Queen come 
into the nave, crowned and sceptred, also saw Soult's 
silver-mounted carriage. Also left off shaving my 
cheeks that day, which is, therefore, on all accounts, 
memorable in the history of the universe." 
From which we gather that at the age of twenty-three 
he was becoming interested in his personal appearance, 
that up to 1838 he had been clean shaven, and that 
henceforward for some years he presented a pair of 
" mutton-chops " to an admiring world. 

Touching his appearance, Edmund Yates, who knew 

29 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

him as a young man, says that he was singularly 
handsome and thoroughly English-looking, with well- 
cut features, fresh complexion and bright eyes. This 
is corroborated by Sala, who knew him as early as 
1832 and says he was " eminently handsome with the 
clearest of complexions and a lustrous, speaking eye." 
And Mrs. Panton (Miss " Sissie " Frith), who knew him 
in later years, tells me that he had beautiful hands and 
feet, of which he was very proud, and that he always 
dressed well. As to the colour of his eyes there is the 
usual discrepancy of evidence, one lady asserting 
that he had " clear blue eyes," another being equally 
sure that they were " bright brown." 

These things are just worth recording, but we 
cannot yet get on terms of intimacy with the man. 
Later on we shall shake him by the hand and talk 
with him face to face. 

Nor do we know how he managed to emancipate 
himself from the profession for which he had no love. 
Probably by gradual degrees. The only certain thing 
is that it was not long before he tried the experiment 
of living by his pen. Yates, who knew, says that 
" as soon as he could swim without the corks of law he 
let them float away and managed to keep his head up, 
not, however, without more struggle than would be 
pleasant to, or even good for, everybody. But the 
world comes to everyone who will wait — and work ; 
and it came to him." It was just " the prosy tale of 
sheer industry gradually acquiring lucrative employ- 
ment." And the one thing that made him most sure 
of ultimate success was the business conscience which 

30 



i 



LITERARY CHARACTERISTICS 

he brought to his work. He always said he was a 
workman, and as a workman bound to be punctual 
with his " copy." There was no prating about inspira- 
tion and no waiting for it. If the Muse was lazy, 
the jade must be whipped into activity, and whipped 
she accordingly was. 

Nor was he one of those who allowed his Pegasus 
to grow weak for lack of feeding. As Blanchard 
Jerrold well said of him, in the Gentleman's Magazine^ 
after his death : — 

" In him we boasted in England a thorough man of 
letters ; an artist who dwelt incessantly in art ; a 
literary man for ever steeped in books — ^thinking 
books and talking books. All his outward expression 
took literary form. I feel certain that when he had 
once put the law aside for letters (a transaction of his 
early youth), he never thought for a day of getting 
away from his bookshelves. He was a literary man 
of the old, gay, French type, and appeared to be quite 
unconscious that there were paths in life less steep 
to climb than his. There was a serene content in him, 
which stood by him through all the fortunes of his 
career. He would parry a disappointment with an apt 
quotation, and close a transaction with a mot. He had 
a bright memory and an alert intellect ; so that his wit 
and humour were perpetually fed and enriched from 
the ample stores of his reading. He was no recluse, 
for ever setting his heel towards the faces of men ; 
but a joyous, sociable dweller in the midst of his kind. 
Yet he seemed to be always just clear of his study. 
He had always something fresh-dug from his shelves, 
that he made to sparkle on the topic of the hour. 
A happy illustration of a homely incident delighted 
him. You could not get him out of literature, in 

31 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

short ; and in this qiiahty of thoroughness he resem- 
bled, I repeat, an old French type of savant that is now 
unfortunately passing away. . . . Shirley Brooks 
threw the grace and learning of his art about freely, 
for the very love of it. It belted him, as the atmosphere 
belts and encloses the earth." 

In a word, he was thorough. Further, he was an 

enthusiast and ambitious. He saw that the Man 

of Letters wielded the most powerful of weapons, that 

the point of the pen goes deeper than the point of the 

sharpest sword, and he determined to be ready with 

his when 

" Kommt der Augenblick im Leben, 
Der Wahrhaft wichtig ist und gross." 

From one of those tantalising notes, by which the 
biographer is often faced, it would appear that his 
career as a literary man began seriously in the year 
1843, for just thirty years later he writes : " Made out 
from diaries my literary history — i.e., in what years 
I was engaged on what work from 1843 to 1859." 
Those notes are lost, together with so much else, but 
we must I suppose be thankful even for such a small 
mercy as the date which he looked back upon as his 
professional starting point. 

He had written sporadically before, but he was in 
his twenty-ninth year before he definitely adopted the 
profession of letters. 

Although I have seen it stated, and it is probably 
true, that his first articles were written for the Argus, 
the earliest of his work that I have been able to identify 
is to be found in Ainsworth's Magazine for 1842, the 

32 



" AINSWORTH'S MAGAZINE " 

first year of the short-lived collaboration between 
Ainsworth and George Cruikshank, which was the 
outcome of the artist's quarrel with Richard Bentley. 
In that year he is represented by half-a-dozen con- 
tributions, all signed " Charles W. Brooks," for he 
had not yet assumed the name of " Shirley." In the 
first of these contributions, entitled '* The Masque 
' off * Comus," he makes irreverent use of Milton's 
great poem, professing to reprint from the Morning 
Post of June 22nd, 1634, " the Great Abduction Case," 
in which the Right Hon. the Earl of Comus and the 
Lady Alice Egerton are the protagonists. It is just the 
sort of cheap funniment with which the literary aspirant 
manages to get past the editorial chair, either by favour 
or when some one of inexperience is on the seat of 
judgment. 

This was followed by " An Evening with Nell 
Gwynne," quite a readable enough episode in the Ufe 
of that fascinatingly wicked young person, describing 
how she managed to " get even " with the rakish 
Duke of Buckingham. The most interesting thing 
about it to me is the use he makes of the word " im- 
possible " as equivalent to " utterly unsuitable " in 
the sentence " The damsel . . . arrived in London in 
an impossible hat." Murray, I see, gives Carlyle in 
1858 as his authority, sixteen years later. It would 
be interesting to know whether it owes its parentage 
to Charles W. Brooks. 

Next comes " The Lounge in the CEil de Boeuf," 
a lively enough conversation amongst the hangers-on 
of Louis XIV's court, in which the author adopts the 

33 

4— (2397) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

now exploded notion that the French peasantry of 
that time were downtrodden and miserable as were 
their neighbours in Germany, a view which Thackeray 
also takes in the " Four Georges," prompted thereto 
doubtless by Voltaire's powerful defence of the serfs 
in the Jura. Which only goes to show what was 
certain to be the case, that the young writer was 
cribbing and converting to his own use facts or no-facts 
which he gleaned from such books as fell in his 
way or from deliberate study at that emporium 
of stale thought, the Reading Room of the British 
Museum. 

After this came in quick succession " The Shrift on 
the Raft/' a tale fashioned on the model which was 
perfected by Edgar Allan Poe ; " The Walls of Fama- 
gusta " (Vol. II, p. 264) ; " The Guerillas of Leon " 
(Vol. II, p. 445) ; " State and Prospects of the 
Legitimate Drama in Japan " (Vol. Ill, p. 51) ; 
" What Became of the Executioner " (Vol. Ill, 
p. 256) ; and ** Cousin Emily," a story in two parts 
(Vol. Ill, p. 258). They are only mentioned for the 
guidance of the curious, and not for any remarkable 
promise. 

Their importance Ues in the fact that through them 
he was brought into contact with such men as Harrison 
Ainsworth, Blanchard Jerrold and their friends, who 
were not long in discovering that in addition to wielding 
a promising pen he possessed social qualities and a 
ready wit which made him an acceptable acquisition to 
their literary circles. 

Beginning as a free-lance, he soon commended himself 

34 



" ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS " 

to the far-sighted caterers for a reading public, which 
was now clamouring for entertainment. 

Those were times of great activity and enterprise 
in the periodical world. Herbert Ingram, who had 
removed from Nottingham to London to advertise a 
pill, remained to found the Illustrated London News in 
1842. Bentley's Miscellany had started on its remark- 
ably successful career but a few years before, and was 
looking out for likely young men. The Era, the Man 
in the Moon, the Morning Chronicle were all on the 
alert for recruits, and one and aU discovered qualities 
in Shirley Brooks which answered to their varied 
requirements. He was prepared to do anything and 
go anywhere. He had a ready pen, a gigantic memory, 
a well-equipped brain. Above all, he was business-like 
and punctual. He could be depended upon. 

What were the exact dates at which he first began 
to contribute to each of these publications cannot be 
ascertained and is not of much moment. The 
important thing is that they all had their share, during 
the eight years from 1843 to 1851, in preparing him 
for what was to be the work of his life. For the 
Illustrated London News he did everything by turn 
and everything well, as was proved by the fact that he 
continued in its employ for more than a quarter-of-a- 
century. Weekly articles on the politics of the day ; 
leading articles too numerous to mention, almost too 
many to count ; long series of chatty paragraphs, 
literary and social, entitled " By the Way " and 
" Nothing in the Papers " ; verses " written up " to 
illustrations ; stories and occasional pieces of all sorts, 

35 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

poured forth in apparently limitless quantities from his 
untiring pen.* 

So it was with the Era, and so it was with the 
Morning Chronicle, of which more will be said in its 
place. 

Beginning, as every writer for the Press must begin, 
by knocking at the doors of editors, he soon had most 
of the editors of the day knocking at his. 

Of course, he had his ups and downs. He knew 
drudgery and disappointment. But he had a stout 
heart, good spirits, a strong digestion, at least in these 
early days, and full confidence that the world was his 
oyster which he with pen would open. 

By 1844 we find him free of the parental roof and 
Uving in bachelor chambers at No. 4 Frith Street, 
Soho. This I learn from the following note kindly 
sent by Mr. Sidney Jennings : — 

" It may be of interest to many Freemasons to know 
that ' Charles William Shirley Brooks, of 4 Frith Street, 
Soho, Esquire, proposed by Bro. J. Strutt, P.M., and 
seconded by Bro. Fred Montague, Secy., was balloted 
for, and duly elected and initiated as a member of 



* He certainly contributed to the Illustrated London News as early 
as 1852, for in 1871 a lady enquired in Notes and Queries where she 
could find certain verses on " St. Pancras's Bell." Shirley, a 
constant contributor of answers, remembered that he was their 
author, that they were published in the Illustrated London News, 
and that they were " writ in those dull chambers in Pall Mall, just 
before my tide turned." They appeared on Jan. 17th, 1852, but 
had been written as long before as 1849. And he adds : " E. L. 
(his wife) is good enough to call them clever. I know their author 
thought them so when he was making them." 

36 



" SHIRLEY " 

St. Thomas's Lodge, No. 166 (now No. 142) at an 
emergency meeting held at the Freemason's Tavern, 
June 25th, 1844.' Bro. Brooks appears to have been 
a regular subscriber, and attended to his Masonic 
duties for some years, and after serving in the several 
offices became Master of the Lodge, Jan. 8th, 1848. 
His last recorded attendance appears to have been 
March 1st, 1851, although the P.M.' s Jewel voted him 
subsequently was received and acknowledged on his 
behalf ' by Bro. Wilham Brooks for his absent brother.' " 

The following year Shirley proposed his brother 
William, architect, of Percy Street, who was duly 
elected, and, in 1847, appointed Secretary of the Lodge. 

The above note has, besides its general drift, an 
incidental importance which should not be overlooked, 
for here for the first time we find Brooks assuming the 
" front " name of " Shirley." 

The writer in the " Dictionary of National Biography" 
is mistaken when he says that his Christian names were 
" Charles William Shirley," for it is an undoubted fact 
that he was baptized plain " Charles William." 
Exactly at what period he first assumed the third 
name I cannot discover. Indeed, there is some reason 
to suppose that this pen-name was not adopted per 
saltum, but that first came " Rivers," a play upon 
" Brooks," that then came " Rivers-Brooks," and 
finally " Shirley." If this is so, then I venture to 
suggest what may have led up to it. The reasoning 
is, I am aware, not conclusive, but I give it for what 
it is worth. 

Brooks, as we know, was a voracious reader, par- 
ticularly of early plays. For more than 150 years the 

37 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

reputation of the Elizabethan dramatist, James 
Shirley, had suffered eclipse. Lately interest had been 
revived, and in 1833 Alexander Dyce had brought out 
a new edition of his plays. This revival of interest 
could hardly have escaped Brooks's attention. Now, 
James Shirley had for some reason or other adopted 
the pen-name, Rivers. What more natural than that 
this should have suggested to Brooks, casting about 
for a better pen-name than the mere punning one of 
Rivers, one which had some literary flavour, and 
would also mark his traditionary descent from Laurence 
Shirley, Earl Ferrers ? 

That he loathed his name of " Charles " is certain, 
for Mrs. Panton well remembers in later days that, 
when Yates wanted to annoy his friend, he would 
address him as " Charles," just as Shirley himself 
when he wished to annoy Yates would address him as 
" Hodgson," Yates's second name. 

Anyhow, there were people who envied him the 
successful assumption. There was, for example, the 
author-artist, Blackburn, who said one day to Sir 
Francis Burnand : — 

" What a good name is Shirley Brooks's. A fortune. 
A man with such a name has only to write it up, and 
go to bed, and people would crowd in to put gold and 
silver into his hand." 

And John Cordy Jeaffreson wrote in his " Book of 
Recollections " with ill-concealed envy of a far abler 
and more successful man than himself : — 

" Authors are apt to be fanciful about their names. 
. . . Charles Shirley Brooks, whilom editor of Pu7tch, 

38 



NOMS-DE-PLUME 

called himself Shirley, not because it was his name by 
baptismal rite, but because he wished to hear himself 
called Shirley. Had he foreseen that the satiric 
humour of the literary coteries would convert ' Shirley * 
into ' Shallow ' as a more appropriate name for a 
gentleman who was the reverse of profound, he would 
perhaps have remained plain Charles Brooks." 

" Shallow Brooks " is certainly rather funny, but it 
misses its point, seeing that Shirley did not pose as 
profound. 

Anyhow, " Shirley " he assumed, and as Shirley he 
will always be known. 

In Pu7ich, as we shall see, much of his woi k appeared 
over the signature " Epicurus Rotundus," varied on 
one occasion to " Epicurius Arthriticus," and in the 
Musical World over that of " Zamiel's Owl " ; whilst 
in Notes and Queries and other periodicals to which 
he occasionally contributed he would assume any pen- 
name that occurred to him at the moment of writing. 
Thus " K.T.R.P." would stand for " Kent Terrace, 
Regent's Park," where he lived for many years, and 
the mystification caused by such an unusual con- 
catenation of initials was to him the source of a very 
lively satisfaction. 

The same year which saw Shirley initiated as a 
Freemason also saw the termination of the partnership 
between Ainsworth and George Cruikshank, and found 
" the inimitable George " ever ready with a fresh idea, 
conceiving the Table Book, a monthly magazine 
destined to a brief but glorious career. Shirley at once 
became a contributor. 

39 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Gilbert a Beckett was the literary editor, and for 
the first time the future Punch editor found himself 
employed alongside the young Punch giants, Mark 
Lemon, " Michael Angelo Titmarsh," and Horace 
Mayhew, with whom he was later on to be so closely 
connected. But there was much to happen before he 
stormed and took the position which he afterwards 
held against all comers. 

Nor were his chances improved by the intimacy 
which now sprang up between him and George Augustus 
Sala, an intimacy which lasted, though not without 
interruption, through the many vicissitudes of that 
" turgid " writer's somewhat erratic career, and was 
only terminated by death. 

It is well known that the " graceless young whelp," 
as Mark Lemon called Sala, was by no means a persona 
grata to the Punch people, who never forgave the 
cleverly vindictive " Word with Punch " until Sir 
Francis Burnand called a truce. Indeed, Shirley 
himself, during his editorship, carried on the sentiment 
as a sort of dynastic vendetta, and kept Sala's name 
on Punch's Index Expurgatorius.* Nevertheless, out- 
side the sacred enclosure, he befriended him in every 
possible way, although, as I have said, there were times 
of estrangement, especially when, in Sir Francis 
Burnand' s words : — | 

" He and George Augustus Sala had a violent passage 
of arms in print, Sala having severely criticised * The 

* Vide Mr. M. H. Spielmann's invaluable " History of Punch," 
et passim. 

t In tlic Pall Mall Magazine. 

40 



i 



THE "ERA" 

Naggletons/ * and Shirley having sharply rephed in 
Punchy where, with the article, appeared a small 
caricature of Sala. But not long after this they 
embraced, and were again on friendly terms. All was 
temporarily forgiven ; but nothing, on either side, was 
forgotten." 

By good fortune, about this time there fell into the 
hands of Ledger of the Era a Httle play entitled " The 
Creole," of which something will be said later on, with 
which Shirley had lately made his first theatrical 
success. Impressed by its promise of future things, 
Ledger undertook its publication in book form, thus 
inaugurating another connection which lasted almost 
to the end of Shirley's hfe. Many times he sought to 
sever it, but Ledger would not be denied, and from the 
year 1847 to the year 1871 his work continued, almost 
without intermission, to appear in the Era's pages. 
This was important enough, but the year was big with 
greater issues. 

Punch had not reached his seventh year of existence 
without exciting the rivalry of those clever men for 
whom no room could be found in what was then one 
of the closest of boroughs. Of these one of the bitterest 
was Albert Smith, who, either because he could not 
agree with Mark Lemon, or because he could not 
withstand the open hostility of Jerrold, had long since 
severed his connection with his old colleagues. Actuated 
by the bitterest motives, he pitched upon Angus B. 
Reach to second him in his campaign. And between 
them these two malcontents started the ablest and 

* Shiriey's Punch serial. 

41 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

wittiest of Punch's rivals, the little quarto monthly, 
the Man in the Moon, the first number of which 
appeared on Jan. 1st, 1847. 

Between Reach and Shirley Brooks there existed the 
closest friendship, and it was probably through Reach's 
influence that Shirley was asked to join the staff, a 
good turn which Shirley found opportunity of repaying 
with interest by and by. 

It may here be said that to do Shirley a good turn 
was one of the best investments a man could make. 
Indeed, it was by no means a bad investment to do 
him an ill one. He never forgot the first, but he soon 
forgave the last, and nothing was too troublesome if 
a friend — or enemy — could be helped. It was the same 
in small things as in great. Who'll back a bill ? 
Shirley. Who'll act as secretary to a testimonial ? 
Shirley. Who'll propose or second me for the 
" Garrick " ? Shirley. I want a box for the theatre. 
Ask Shirley. A subscription. Oh, you can put down 
Shirley without asking. He's certain to give. It had 
its drawbacks, of course, for people sponged on him 
to an unconscionable extent, but it was a characteristic 
which must be borne in mind. 

It was the Ma7t in the Moon which gave Shirley his 
first real opportunity of proving the capacity which 
he possessed for turning out witty and satirical work 
at a moment's notice. 

From the first the little paper set itself to do what 
Cruikshank threatened on a well-known occasion — 
to go down to the Punch office " and knock the old 
rascal's wooden head about." 

42 



''MAN IN THE MOON" 

It published the sketch of a man speechless with 
amazement entitled '' Portrait of a Gentleman Finding 
a Joke in Punch.'' It offered five hundred pounds 
reward and a free pardon to one of the Punch artists 
if he would appear before the Man in the Moon and 
satisfactorily explain the meaning of his cut entitled 
" Horrible Tragedy in Domestic Life." * 

Again, it brought " A Serious Charge " against its 
rival of hfting jokes bodily from its own pages, 
concluding with the words : — 

" Why, Punch — you who are always the first to cry 
out about picking and stealing — what are you about ? 
For goodness' sake, turn over a new leaf or we shall 
have you so reduced in circumstances as to be found 
haunting our offices, begging bits of superfluous 
manuscript and crying ' Any Jo', Jo' ; any old Jo' ? ' " 

To which was appended a drawing of Punch as a 
peripatetic old Jew merchant. 

But it was left to Shirley Brooks to give the shrewdest 
blows of all in his rough but brilliant verses entitled 
" Our Flight with Punch.'' And when later Mark 
Lemon discovered their authorship, he said, " That 
young man is formidable. He must be sought as an 
ally." They are too many to quote at length, but their 
quality may be gathered from the following : — 

" Up ! Up ! thou dreary Hunchback ! Ere her diamond stud, the 
Sun 
Stick in Aurora's habit-shirt, there's business must be done. 

* Here, as a matter of fact, the Man in the Moon overshot his 
mark, for Thackeray was the artist of the unsigned " cut " in 

43 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

The saucy stars are winking at the planets on their beat — 

Up ! thou hast grovelled long and low — a change will be a treat. 

And now away. Still not away ? What clog forbids our start ? 
What is that weight thou claspest 'gainst wliat should be thy 

heart ? 
Ay, as we deemed, 'tis Cant, foul Cant — thine unforsaken leaven — 
Deem'st thou such mockery may mount and cleave its way to 

Heaven ? 

:): 3it * 9|e 9|c 

We'll clear thy brains. Look westerly. See where yon Palace 

stands ; 
Stains of the mud flung there by thee are on thy dirty hands. 
We will not brand thee Atheist — we know thou dreadst that 

sting — 
Yet, vaunting loud thy ' fear of God,' how ' honourest thou the 

King ? ' 

Less need to pause o'er lesser sins, o'er scandal random-flung ; 
O'er gird and sneer unmeet for pen — scarce pardoned to the 
tongue. 

***** 

Less need to pause o'er fantasies, whined in Utopian tune, 
Engendered 'mid tobacco clouds — baptised in the spittoon. 
***** 

Back ! foolish Hunchback, to the course that whilom made thy 

fame. 
Back ! to thy lawful quarry, to thy Jove-appointed game. 
Shoot folly as it flies ; but shoot it with the arrowy joke — 
jNot with the brazen blunderbuss, all bellow and black smoke. 

Give us, once more, the playful wit that notched the legal saw — 
That sparkles o'er Hume's History now, as once o'er Blackstone's 
law; 



question, and the quarrel was with Lemon and Jcrrold, not with 
Thackeray and a Beckett, to whose fine work the editors laid 
themselves out to give ample recognition and generous praise. 

44 



" OUR FLIGHT WITH ' PUNCH ' " 

Give us the truthful, social sketch, drawn by Titmarshian skill, 
With colour bright as Dickens's, and pencil keener still. 

Give us the shower of quip and crank ; the whimsy and the wile ; 
Murder vain Fashion's shapeless brood, but murder with a smile; 
Poison the rats of Westminster with Hamlet's ' poisoned jest : ' 
And stab, as once Harmodius stabbed, with steel in myrtle dressed. 

Then shall smart newsmen cease to curse, returning half thy 

quires ; 
Then with thy sheets pale publishers shall cease to feed their fires ; 
Then shall thy sale be reckoned, Punch, by number, not by weight ; 
Nor inside trunks, nor outside cheese, shalt linger, as of late." 

— (The Man in the Moon, Vol. Ill, page 241.) 

Yates, in his " Recollections," seems to throw some 
doubt on the authorship of these verses when he says, 
" Admirable as these verses are, they were not oddly 
enough included in the posthumous collection of 
Shirley Brooks's poems," forgetting that the selections 
only professed to be from the Punch contributions, 
and not realising that Messrs. Bradbury and Evans, 
the publishers of the volume, would in any case hardly 
go out of their way to revive this slashing indictment 
of their own paper. 

At the head of ** Our Flight with Punch " is a cut 
depicting the Man in the Moon hauling Punch up into 
the clouds by the tassel of his cap, a pictorial skit on 
Doyle's headpieces to Tom Taylor's " Our Flight with 
Russell " and " Our Fhght with Louis Philippe," 
which had appeared in Punch in August and October 
of the same year, and of which Shirley's verses were 
in their turn a clever parody. 

Associated with Shirley Brooks on the Man in the 

45 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Moon were James Hannay, Charles Kenney, Sala, Hine, 
Henning, and the French caricaturist " Cham," who, 
together with Albert Smith and Angus Reach, the joint 
editors, showed a formidable front to their arch-enemy. 
Nor was the fact that Herbert Ingram was proprietor 
of the venture calculated to make the attack less bitter, 
for were not " Parr's Life Pills " one of Punch's favour- 
ite butts, and was not the Ilhistratcd London News in 
its early days one gigantic organisation for their 
advertisement ? Of course Punch retaliated, and Mr. 
Spielmann tells how it was one of Shirley's attacks 
that drew from Leech his picture of two little snobs 
in a low coffee-house : — 

" Punch is very dummy and slow this week, I 
think," says the first disreputable-looking " fast man." 

" So do I," replies the other. " It's their own fault, 
too, for I sent 'em some dem'd funny articles, which the 
humbugs sent me back." 

" That's just the way they served me," responds his 
friend, " the great fools ! " 

And on the whole I think Punch had the best of the 
encounter. His champions were, taking them all 
round, abler men than his opponents, and he only bided 
his time to enlist under his banner the best of those 
who were now sowing their wild oats. Shirley himself 
was but a mercenary. He had no real quarrel with the 
common rival, and the Punch men knew this. Even 
Jerrold, whom he had particularly attacked, eventually 
plumped for his admission to the Table, and, when the 
time came, took an early opportunity of referring to 
him as " the most rising journalist of the day." He 

46 



"MAN IN THE MOON" 

knew, as did everyone else, that the righteous indigna- 
tion of these young bloods was but the stage-thunder 
of an elaborate make-believe, and that they barked 
loud rather to attract attention to themselves than 
with any great expectation of warning off evil-doers. 
And in this they were not unlike a good many gentlemen 
of the Press in these days. 

So Shirley was left to cut his literary wisdom-teeth 
for a few more years, after which he became, as we 
shall see, by slow but sure degrees, Mark Lemon's 
right-hand man, to whom the great editor could turn 
for anything, on any subject, at any moment. Those 
were the days of all-round men. Now things have 
changed and people specialise in the departments of 
humour as they do in all other departments of work. 

But this is anticipating, and it must not be supposed 
that the Man in the Moon confined his attentions 
to his powerful and victorious rival. A stroll through 
his pages will show us, amongst other things, how 
history repeats itself. 

Take, for example, the article headed " Stratford-on- 
Avon " in the tenth number, which should be of special 
interest to Miss Corelli and Mr. Sidney Lee, for there 
we have : — • 

" Woodcuts of * Shakespeare's house as it is at 
present,' ' Shakespeare's house as it appeared when his 
father first took it,' ' Ditto as it would have appeared 
had he lived till now,' and ' Ditto as it may appear, 
hereafter, when restored by the Camden Society ;' " 

together with much good fooling and good sense 
combined. 

47 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Again we might recommend to the present Keeper 
of the Turner drawings in Trafalgar Square '* A Voice 
from the Vernon Gallery," beginning with the lines : — 

" Oh say, what is that thing called light, 

Which I must ne'er enjoy, 
* * ♦ * 

" Why should this den of dreary night 
My every charm destroy ? " 

commenting upon the following paragraph from the 
Morning Chronicle of the period : — 

" On entering the sombre hall, a placard points out 
a dark staircase which leads to the dull abyss, to which 
the British School of the National Gallery has been 
consigned. To see the pictures was in most cases a 
matter of impossibility. It would be impossible for 
the most ingenious Mar-all to contrive a place less 
adapted for the exhibition of works of art, than this 
miserable hole of Trafalgar Square." 

But we must not linger over the general aspect of 
these fascinating little volumes, which may still be 
picked up by the curious in second-hand bookshops — 
at a price. We must confine ourselves to Shirley 
Brooks's part in them. 

Here is an example of his purely humorous work in 
these pages, an example the more interesting seeing 
that it was soon after somehow " hfted " into the pages 
of Punch itself ! 

"WHAT ARE THE WILD WAVES SAYING?" 
(A Sea-shore Lyric.) 
" ' What are the wild waves saying ? ' 
Said a maid in a round straw hat, 
On the sands of Margate playing : 
' Papa, can you tell me that ? ' 
48 



AS VERSIFIER 

Her sire in grim displeasure, 

No sort of an answer made, 
Till she fetched him a slight refresher 

With the fiat of her wooden spade. 

Then, with a look askance, her 

Enquiry thus he met : 
' You must mind and keep my answer 

From your mother's ear, my pet. 
I know what the waves are saying, 

But if she were to know, my lamb, 
To us both she'd soon be weighing 

Toko in lieu of yam.' 

The child, with a face of wonder. 

Drew close to her father's knee. 
While, with brow as black as thunder 

This speech imparted he : 
' Like the arrow shot at a target 

Comes this message through the foam — 
' You're an ass for coming to Margate, 

And 3'ou'd better have stayed at home.' " 

When his friend Sala wrote that " Shirley Brooks 
was a born poet," he, of course, wrote nonsense. 
That he was an ingenious rhymester who had the 
knack of making wit and wisdom 

. . . "Shine 
Through the harsh cadence of a rugged line," 

is the best that can be claimed for him. We may even 
admit with another of his friends, Edmund Yates, 
that his verses were better than nine-tenths of what 
passed for poetry in his day, but that is after all but 
faint praise. Apart from everything else, surely no 
one who was a " born poet " could have been 
guilty of some of the enormities in parody which he 

49 

5— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

perpetrated. Take, for example, Campbell's poem, 
" The Last Man/' which runs : — 

" All earthly shape shall melt in gloom, 
The sun himself must die, 
Before this mortal shall assume 
His immortality," etc., etc. 

parodied by Shirley into : — 

" Five bottles must at least go round. 
The sixth be nearly dry, 
Before this mortal shall assume 
His inebriety," etc., etc. 

That is funny, no doubt, but a thing to be repented 
of in sackcloth and ashes. No man with the true 
poetic instinct could have so far demeaned himself 
without intentional wickedness. And Shirley, often 
thoughtless and carried away by uproarious spirits, 
was not wicked. Indeed, I believe the conventional 
statement, that he never published a line which he 
knew to be indecent or irreligious, to be strictly in 
accordance with fact. 

True, his contemporary reputation as a " poet " 
was considerable, so much so indeed that, in one 
notable instance at least, he got credit for a production 
which was more like poetry than anything he ever 
wrote himself. But one swallow does not make a 
summer, more especially if that swallow happens to 
be a sparrow. Around that particular production 
something of the dimensions of a controversy has raged. 
Fortunately I am able to settle the matter conclusively. 
But of that in its place. On the other hand, Thackeray, 
on two occasions at least, had fathered upon him sets 

50 



AS VERSIFIER 

of verses by Shirley Brooks, of which I do not fancy 
he would have much cared to claim the parentage. 
The first was " The Elegy to a Porpoise ! " wrongly 
ascribed to Thackeray in the "Life of Frank 
Buckland." The second was a parody on '' Locksley 
Hall," beginning : — 

" Johnson, take another tumbler ; Johnson, Hght a fresh cigar." 

When this was so attributed, Shirley was quick to put 
in his claim, not I fancy so much to clear Thackeray 
of an unfounded charge, as to put to his own credit 
what there was nothing much to be proud about. 

And this was a characteristic of Shirley's, not 
perhaps an uncommon one to be found in able men. 
He was far prouder of the inconsiderable things that 
he did than of the considerable. He would give a 
shilling to a crossing-sweeper and blaze it abroad. He 
would put a boy to school whom he had never seen 
and who had no conceivable claim upon him and keep 
him there for years, and would say nothing about it. 

As time went on, the habit — the fatal facility — 
grew upon Shirley of thinking in rhyme. Ideas 
presented themselves to him ready-clothed in metrical 
garments until it became almost as easy for him to 
write in verse as in prose. To write to a friend a 
rhyming letter containing an excruciatingly bad rhyme 
gave him the liveliest satisfaction, far more, I think, 
than the laborious discovery of one with irreproachable 
affinity. 

Here is a good example of the sort of thing he loved 
to dash off, the first of a delightful series of letters put 

51 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

at my disposal by the generous kindness of Lieut. -Col. 

Gaskell : — 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" Garrick Club, Sunday. 

" My dear Leigh, 

" Rub a dub dub, 
Three men in this club ; 
One lives in Long Acre, 
One married Miss Baker, (a fact). 
The third has a face hke a 
Roasted potater — 
that's me. 

" I'm up for a few days, and hope to meet you at 
dinner on Wednesday. 

" Ever yours, 

"S. B." 

It would, of course, be absurd to judge Shirley 
Brooks's verse by rules applying to the higher forms 
of literary art. They were but a sublimated form of 
journalism, and the fact that, during his connection 
of twenty years with Punch, he published over six 
hundred sets of verses in that journal alone, is enough 
to excuse them from any very searching criticism. 
As his son Reginald, in the Introduction to the post- 
humously published "Wit and Humour," justly said: 
" There was no time for choosing of epithets, for weigh- 
ing of phrases, for polishing of lines, there was no time 
to wait for favourable seasons and conditions ; they 
had to be written from week to week in whatever 
bodily pain or mental grief their author might chance 
to be. Many of the epigrams . . . which seem the most 
highly polished, were written off impromptu ; and 
even of the longer poems — to give an example of the 

52 



I 



LOG-ROLLING 

rapidity with which they were produced — " The Rime 
of the Ancient Alderman " (fifty stanzas of four hues, 
together with marginal notes to each verse) " was 
composed in an hour." That is the way journalism 
has to be done, and that is the way Shirley did it, 
his proud boast being, during his long connection with 
the Press, that he had never kept the printer waiting 
for his copy. 

Of actual mention of Shirley Brooks's name in the 
pages of the Man in the Moon, whose influence with 
the public depended largely on the anonymity of its 
contributors, we do not of course expect to find much, 
and yet these young men were not above a little 
log-rolling when they had the chance. Indeed, as early 
as Vol. I, page 183, we find a review of one of Shirley's 
plays, beginning with a delightful affectation of 
superiority : — 

" Since we last went to press, a burletta called 
* The Wigwam,' written by one of our collaborateurs, 
has been produced at the Lyceum Theatre with much 
success. This result is mere matter of course, because 
any writer who is qualified to contribute to these pages 
is, we should humbly imagine, perfectly competent to 
any other task which could possibly be required of him. 
It is, therefore, sufficient to say that ' The Wigwam ' 
is received with nightly applause, and that it points a 
great number of morals of various descriptions ; " 

and concluding, " Mr. Shirley Brooks is the writer of the 
piece, which has been very carefully and effectually 
got up and will have a good run." And certainly he 
was fortunate in his cast, which included Frank 
Matthews, the Keeleys, Oxberry, and Miss Arden. 

53 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Again I find the following passage of calculated 
naivete rather alluring : — 

" The Lyceum fills prosperously. We disdain to 
puff anything, or anybody, more especially anything 
achieved by anybody who happens to be our friend 
and collaborateur. It is for that reason, therefore, 
that we refrain from saying that the little drawing-room 
comedy, by Shirley Brooks, produced since our last 
number, and called ' Anything for a Change,' is one 
of the neatest and most sparkling little gems which 
ever glittered in the perfect setting of a Vestris ' Get 
Up.' " 

Once indeed the staff of the little paper throws aside 
its anonymity and appears before the curtain. 
"Shirley," "Angus," and "Albert" discuss the 
contemporary drama in open court, just as on occasion 
certain eminent dramatic critics in these days con- 
descend to do, for the good of the drama, of course, 
and not to advertise themselves. A few lines of 
quotation must suffice : — 

" Angus. '■ '^ The Creole " is by far the best drama 
Shirley has written. The idea is new, the plot is very 
carefully and ingeniously constructed, the situations 
are extremely effective and the dialogue is thoroughly 
vigorous.' 

" Albert. ' Anything to add to that, Shirley ? ' 
" Shirley. ' Nothing ; Angus's praise is extrava- 
gantly high, and perfectly just.' " 

Of course, the opportunity is not lost of having a sly 
dig at their great rival. Shirley bets a copy of the 
Man in the Moon against a copy of Punch that a 
certain manager does not give a certain actress £100 

54 



BALLOONING 

a night. To which Angus drily answers : " You will 
get no takers, even at such odds." 

One other matter and we must close this account of 
Shirley's connection with Punch's antagonist. 

In Laman Blanchard's " Life " there is a reference, 
under date June 7th, 1847, to " the veteran aeronaut, 
Shirley Brooks." But surely here we find Homer 
nodding. Shirley was certainly not yet a veteran, for 
he was but thirty-two. And as certainly he was no 
aeronaut, for only once did he risk his bones in a 
balloon. This is pretty clear from a note made by 
Mr. Silver after one of the Punch dinners many years 
later : — 

" ' I once went up in a balloon,' Shirley told us, 
' and I wasn't a bit funky, but I frankly didn't like it. 
London seemed to slip away, and the sensation was 
unpleasant somehow, though I felt no motion. But 
the bumping on the ground on coming down was 
beastly. I believe that some of my lower bones would 
have certainly been broken had not my rotundity 
acted as a buffer.' " 

The ascent was made from Cremorne in Green's 
balloon. The Nassau. With him were Albert Smith 
and half-a-dozen other newspaper men, and the event 
made good copy for the next number of the Man in 
the Moon. The staff was anxious to pay a visit to 
the real Man in the Moon, they wished to present him 
with a copy of their publication in person, they wished 
to experience a new sensation, and (incorrigible 
punsters as they were) were ready for a lark, and 
thought the skies the best place to find one ! 

55 



CHAPTER III 




Morning Chronicle — " Russians of the South " — As Theatrical 
Critic — " A Story witli a Vengeance " — Angus Reach. 

UCH as Shirley Brooks had 
reason to congratulate 
himself on his literary 
successes, so far he was 
but a free-lance in the 
army of writers. He was 
ready for a job here, 
there, and everywhere, 
but he was uncertain of 
his true metier. Like the 
singer who knows he has 
a powerful organ, but does not know what " register " 
he should adopt, like the actor who is trying his hand 
now at tragedy, now at comedy, he must give each 
its chance, and let time prove in what he is most 
excellent. Naturally, he tried his luck with the drama, 
and with no httle success. 

As it was with his verse-writing so it was with his 
work done for the stage. He enjoyed the facility with 
which he could convert the teeming fancies of his brain 
into current coin of the realm. His imagination and 
his pen were but the implements with which he was 
to make a name, carve out a career in the world, do 
his work — and receive his wages for doing it. They 

56 



"THE CREOLE" 

were no more than that and he would have been the 
first to repudiate the name of " poet," the first to 
laugh at anyone who called him even a second Planch6. 

His play-writing, like his verse-writing, was pot- 
boiling, done with might and main and with the breezy 
enjoyment of the man whose heart was in his work. 
It was just a part of his darrach, pretending to no great 
literary excellence. It was clever, but it was not art. 

" The Creole," the pubhcation of which by Ledger 
resulted in his long connection with the Era^ is the first 
of his plays of which I find public mention. But that 
it had its predecessors is probable. Indeed, as early 
as 1845, he was admitted to membership of the 
Dramatic Authors' Society, a society which, then or 
later, numbered amongst its members such prominent 
Punch men as Mark Lemon, Douglas Jerrold, Henry 
Mayhew, Albert Smith, Tom Taylor, (Sir Francis) 
Burnand, and Gilbert a Beckett.* 

*' The Creole, or Love's Fetters ; an original drama 
in three acts," as its full title ran, was produced at the 
Lyceum on April 8th, 1847, under the management 
of the Keeleys. The hero, Anto7iy Latour, was finely 
played by Emery, " a most excellent actor, never 
sufficiently appreciated ;" f the heroine, Virginie 
Damiron, by Mary Keeley (Mrs. Albert Smith) ; and 
the fiery, reckless, kind-hearted Vivandiere by Mrs. 
Keeley herself. " Never," wrote Douglas Jerrold in 
his Weekly Newspaper, " never did a piece of the kind 

* Vide " The k Becketts of Punch " by Mr. Arthur a Beckett, 
t Vide Yates's " Recollections." 

57 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

play more completely on the first night. The three 
acts went, not only swiftly, but, with all their variety 
of involution, smoothly as a ballet," and this not- 
withstanding that only six rehearsals had been called. 
The fact was that Mrs. Keeley had given the young 
dramatist but scant time for his task. On the morning 
of Tuesday, March the 16th, one scene only had been 
written, and on the evening of the following Saturday, 
the completed work, an entirely original drama, or 
rather melodrama, was in the hands of the manage- 
ment. The piece proved, in the words of the AthencBum 
of the day, " a moderate success." Nevertheless, 
henceforth Shirley, as a dramatist, was in constant 
request. " The Creole " has often been revived, and 
certainly was acted as late as June, 1876, at the 
St. James's Theatre with Mrs. John Wood as the 
Vivandiere. It is to be found with several others of 
Shirley's productions in Lacy's " Acting Edition of 
Plays " and Dick's " Standard Plays." Some day, 
prophesied Blanchard Jerrold in the Gentleman's 
Magazine, a manager will come along who will read 
them and will find that there is very seldom any 
dramatic writing produced nowadays of such excellent 
quality, and will give them another chance. That, 
I think, is too sanguine a hope, too high an estimate. 
Anyhow, they were good enough in those days for 
the Keeleys, Charles Mathews, and Charles Kean, 
and were important as bringing him into friendly 
relationship with many remarkable people of the 
period. 

Others of his plays produced by the Keeleys at the 

58 



PLAY-WRITING 

Lyceum were " Our New Governess," " Honours and 
Tricks," and " The Wigwam." 

On June 7th, 1848, "Anything for a Change" 
made its bow, with Charles Mathews in the part of 
Swoppington, and a Miss " Polly " Marshall, who, 
according to Yates, acted " Eliza, a servant," inimit- 
ably. It was a one-act petite comedie, and was 
important as introducing Shirley to Madame Vestris, 
into whose and Mathews's hands the Lyceum 
management had now passed. 

This was followed at the same theatre by the farce 
" Shave you Directly," and, at the Olympic, by " The 
Magician," both produced for the first time in 1849, 
and both with considerable success. 

Then came in 1850 " The Daughter of the Stars," 
at the New Strand Theatre, with Miriam, the gipsy 
girl, " most strikingly personated by Mrs. Stirling," 
and William Farren as the Hon. Antony Hawkstone. 
According to the AthencBum, which had up till now 
rather decried the author, it was a drama " of remark- 
able merit, approaching in wit to the brilliancy of 
Congreve." At the same time the Keeleys were 
producing his new one-act farce, " The Guardian 
Angel," at the Haymarket. 

Then came in 1851, the year of the Great Exhibition, 
" The Exposition " in verse, produced at the Strand 
on April 28th, and described as " 3. Scandinavian 
Sketch, containing as much irrelevant matter as 
possible in one act " ; and then " The Lowther 
Arcade," about which I learn nothing save that it 
was a " lively farce." 

59 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

These were not the last of his dramatic efforts, as 
we shall see as we proceed, but we must now go 
back a year or two and pick up the threads of his 
newspaper work. 

Shirley had been but a year on the staff of the Ma7i 
in the Moon, when another editor, this time one of the 
greatest editors that England has ever produced, found 
him out. 

In 1865 he wrote in his diary : — 

" We heard this morning that Cobden died yesterday. 
He is a loss. My recollection of him is connected 
with my best step in life, for Cook, to see whether I was 
fit for the office of summary-writer, sent me to Ayles- 
bury to report Cobden and a meeting, which I did 
successfully, and gained the place which gained me 
much beside." 

His new employer was John Douglas Cook, the editor 
of the short-lived but brilliant Morning Chronicle^ 
and afterwards of the Saturday Review. Elsewhere 
I have written of this remarkable man, whose irascible 
temper, flamboyant language, and commanding 
presence made him the terror of his subordinates. 
Possessing no literary ability, he proved himself a 
heaven-born editor, discovering apparently by intuition 
the men or women who could best serve his purposes, 
and casting them aside when their work was done 
with as little compunction as though they were worn- 
out pen nibs. In 1848 the Chronicle had been bought 
by the Peelite party, and Cook installed in the editorial 
chair. Shirley was looking about for work, and Cook 
was scouring the town for likely lieutenants, and 

60 



"MORNING CHRONICLE" 

when two persons are looking the one for the other 
they generally meet. 

In the first years of his new employment Shirley 
was just the ordinary newspaper hack, doing anything 
and going anywhere he was told. Then came the 
moment when the important office of summary-writer 
in the House of Commons fell vacant, and he was 
chosen as fittest for the post. And this notwithstand- 
ing the fact that at the time of his appointment he had 
never heard a debate in his life. " But," says Yates, 
" he soon learnt his work and continued at it for five 
sessions, during which time it was impossible for such 
a man, who really minded and cared for his business, 
not to pick up a great quantity of miscellaneous as well 
as political knowledge, of all of which he afterwards 
availed himself." 

Curiously enough, he never learnt to write in short- 
hand, although he regretted this disabiUty to his dying 
day. At that time reporting in the House of Commons 
was a very different thing from what it is now. Then 
the staff, confined to a few London papermen, had to 
work as best they could from the back seat of the 
Strangers' Gallery. There were no conveniences for 
writing out " copy " in the House, nor for comparing 
doubtful passages with colleagues who had sharper 
ears. For these purposes they were driven to seek 
the shelter of a little tavern, which then stood in 
Palace Yard. Here an upstairs room was kept sacred 
to their use, and here such men as Charles Dickens, 
William Howard Russell, the Pauls, father and son, 
and a host of lesser lights were wont to foregather. 

61 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

It was in these surroundings, and under difficulties 
which would not be tolerated in these more luxurious 
days, that Shirley Brooks prepared himself unwittingly 
for the hvely pictures of Parliamentary procedure 
which are now enshrined in " Punch's Essence of 
Parhament," work continued by him for twenty years 
" with cleverness, refinement, truth and humour 
invaluable to the historian and delightful to the 
general reader." 

Speaking of these early Parliamentary experiences to 
Mr. Silver, he one day said : — 

" No, I don't approve of stag-hunting, but I should 
like to see some Bore-hunting. O, how the Bores 
have plagued me when I was a reporter ! They 
always quoted poetry, and I always had to mend their 
misquotations. No, they never got so far as Greek — 
perhaps they did in Pitt's time. But Parliament is 
decadent — like prize-fighting and other fine old British 
institutions. I fancy country M.P.'s like to hear a bit 
of Latin. It reminds them of their youth. The House 
dislikes a Bore, and doesn't care for high-falutin'. But 
when a man's worth hearing, it will always listen to him. 
I recollect when Brotherton* first rose to speak ; it was 
upon some Infant Labour question, and the House was 
inattentive. But he began by saying simply, * I was 
a factory boy myself and I know something of the 
matter.' Then suddenly there fell a dead silence on 
the benches ; and whenever he spoke afterwards he 
never wanted listeners." 

But Shirley's work on the Morning Chronicle was 
not confined to home affairs. In 1850 and 1851 he and 



♦ Joseph Brotherton, M.P. for Salford. 

62 



AS DRAMATIC CRITIC 

his friend Reach were sent abroad to enquire into the 
conditions of the agricultural classes. Angus went to 
France and Shirley through South Russia, Asia Minor, 
and Egypt. The results of these enquiries appeared 
in the paper in the form of letters to the editor. So 
great was the attention that they attracted that their 
publication in book form was forthwith demanded. 
Angus Reach's investigations were embodied in that 
dehghtful book, " Claret and Olives," and Shirley's in 
the sixth volume of Longman's Travellers' Library, 
under the title of " The Russians in the South " (1854). 
It at once attracted the attention of the Quarterly 
Review, which wrote " he is one of the closest observers 
and one of the liveliest writers of the day." The book 
may be read even now with pleasure and profit, 
despite its uninteresting title and appearance. 

His foreign adventure over, Shirley returned after 
six months to London, and once again showed that 
he could turn his attention to, and excel in, a very 
different class of newspaper work. 

In those days the theatrical critics \^delded enormous 
power, and Shirley for the Chronicle, John Oxenford for 
the Times, and David Hastings for the Herald, formed, 
with George Henry Lewes, a tribunal whose verdict 
the managers awaited with bated breath. And so 
good a judge as Charles Dickens spoke of Shirley in 
this connection as " one of the two ablest and 
keenest . . . among the great army of critical writers." 
A practical dramatist himself, he was well equipped 
for this responsible office, both intellectually and 
morally, and he was far removed from that class of 

63 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

critics who damn a play by reason of prejudice against 
its author. 

" Who do you say wrote this play ? " asked one of 
these, when " Title Deeds " was under discussion. 
" Richard Brinsley Peake," answered another. 
" What ? " said the first, " Dicky Peake ! Damned 
nonsense ! He couldn't write a farce. / kyiew his 
father." 

And Shirley, whilst roaring with laughter at the non 
seqiiitur, would heartily condemn the stupidity that it 
connoted. 

But, important to himself and valuable to the pubUc 
as was Shirley's work on the Chronicle, there was 
something else intimately connected with it which, 
from the biographer's point of view, is of far greater 
moment. For, if biography is to be of real value, it 
must show not so much what things a man did as what 
the man who did these things was like. And here we 
are enabled to catch something of Shirley's character — 
what sort of heart there was in him. 

To use a hackneyed but expressive term, he had a 
genius for friendship, and this was never more markedly 
shown than in the tender and practical help which he 
extended to Angus Bethune Reach, his friend and 
fellow-worker. 

Working together, and showing their mettle in the 
pages of the Man in the Moon, fighting side by side in 
the ranks of the Morning Chronicle, to the editor of 
which Angus had also been his introducer, together 
they laid siege to Punch, and together they eventually, 
as Mr. Spielmann says, carried the position by assault. 

64 



ANGUS REACH 

They were brothers-in-arms and, as such, must succour 
one the other when knocked out of time. And Shirley 
was good at helping lame dogs over stiles. 

In 1852 Reach and he, in addition to their other 
work, collaborated in a little volume entitled " A 
Story with a Vengeance," now only valuable to the 
collector as containing wood-engravings after Charles 
Keene. This was the first and, as it proved, the last 
of their joint-ventures, for soon after Reach showed 
signs of brain failure. 

Then followed for Shirley's friend months of irregular 
and intermittent work — dreadful months during which 
hope alternated with despair, now brightening, now 
lowering, now brightening again, until at last the poor 
brain became incapable of further effort. At first things 
were not bad financially, for the proprietors of the 
Chronicle^ mindful of Reach's faithful and brilliant 
services, continued his salary. Soon, however, this 
source of income could not be relied upon, for the paper 
was losing ground, and, after all, as Mr. William 
Simpson says in his excellent little monograph,* 
" it was not in the bond to maintain even a good 
servant beyond a reasonable time." Then it was that 
Shirley showed the stuff he was made of. He volun- 
teered to do the double work on condition that the 
sick man's salary was continued. This was agreed to, 
and the " noble arrangement lasted for about a year, 
and would have lasted longer had not death come." 

Nor was this the limit of his friendship. For years 

* " Two Famous Correspondents : the Reach's, father and son," 
Inverness, 1905. 

65 

6— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Reach had contributed a " London Letter " to the 
Inverness Courier. This, too, Shirley took upon his 
shoulders, so successfully adopting his friend's style, 
and so carefully keeping the secret of Reach's illness, 
that for many months the readers of the paper had not 
the slightest suspicion that any change of authorship 
had taken place. During all this time Brooks refused 
any reward, though still struggling for his own main- 
tenance. The cheques were handed over untouched 
for the benefit of the poor sufferer and his wife. By 
degrees, of course, the truth about Reach's hopeless 
illness became public property. Then Shirley's share 
in the matter could not be hid, and then Reach's friends 
of the Garrick and Fielding Clubs, Dickens, Thackeray, 
Ainsworth, Peter Cunningham, Tom Taylor, Mark 
Lemon, John Oxenford, John Forster, and a host of 
others combined to insure that his days should be ended 
in comfort and independence. " Round a worthier 
companion friends never rallied in the hour of his 
trouble," wrote Brooks, and surely among these noble- 
hearted men none was more noble and sincere than 
Shirley himself. 

After Reach's death in 1856, Shirley for a short time 
acted on his own account as correspondent to the 
Inverness Courier, relinquishing this employment in 
1857, and leaving behind him a host of friends. First 
amongst these was that remarkable man, Robert 
Carruthers, who occupied the editorial chair for full 
half-a-century. Between him and Shirley hearty 
friendship and camaraderie continued without a break 
until death ended it. 

66 



ANGUS REACH 

Only one letter do I find referring to Reach amongst 
the little of Shirley's early correspondence that has 
come into my hands, but in this we discover him 
characteristically doing him a friendly turn : — 
Shirley Brooks to — Scott. 

" 12 New Inn, Saturday, (1852). 

" My dear Scott, 

"... This will be a good opportunity for me 
to introduce to you our regular Fine Arts cricket,* 
Mr. Angus Reach (Highland name, ' ch ' as ' k '), who 
is a ready and picturesque writer, a valued friend of 
mine, and an excellent fellow, and by him, no doubt, 
the notice in question, and most others will be done. 
I interfere occasionally, only, pour cause, but you will 
find that he will say what I should say. I shall tell 
him to ask for you. 

" Most truly yours, 

"S. B. 
" P.S. — I am so glad the Dukef is buried. I was near 
calling yesterday to congratulate you on the fact, 
but hardly knew whether you could share my glee. 
You would if you had printed five columns about him. 
That night I did." 

* S. B. was dreadfully fond of inversions of this kind, 
t The Duke of Wellington. 



67 



CHAPTER IV 

Appearance — As Conversationalist. 



UCH has been said in the 
preceding chapters of the 
influences which were at 
work fitting Shirley for 
the high position he was 
destined to occupy in 
the hierarchy of EngUsh 
journahsm. 

He was taking true root, 
and that, as Conrade says 
to Don John in " Much Ado about Nothing," " by the 
fair weather he was making for himself." He was 
" framing the season for his own harvest." He had 
faith in, he was preparing for, his destiny, but what 
that destiny was to be he had as yet no guess. I now 
propose to pause for a space in the record of work, and 
at the risk of sHghtly anticipating events, to try and 
give some idea of the characteristics of the worker. 
For I hold that the work by which a man is to be 
judged, the work which has been as much a pleasure 
to him as a task, the work for which he has discovered 
a real genius, cannot properly be understood by us, 

68 




APPEARANCE 

unless we first gain some understanding of the man 
who did it. 

One who knew him well tells me that he remembers 
him as "a clear-skinned, rosy-cheeked, fresh-looking 
gentleman-farmer sort of man," with " thick fair hair, 
bright blue eyes, very clear, and a ready smile with 
a slight curl of the upper lip, which gave a look of 
cynicism when he joked or laughed. His manner was 
peculiarly courteous to ladies, and to what to him must 
have been uninteresting people, with whom he had 
little in common. This was a striking trait, and full 
as his conversation was of bright and polished satire 
and witticisms, there was a breezy, hearty surface- 
geniality about it, which was very characteristic." 
" Even at the last," wrote Edmund Yates, " when 
his hair was silvery white and his beard grizzled, he 
retained his freshness, which, combined with his 
hearty, genial manner, his appreciation of, and promp- 
titude to enter into, fun, made him look considerably 
younger than his real age. He was hearty and hos- 
pitable, fond of dining at the dinners of rich City 
companies, where he would make excellent speeches ; 
fond of enjoying the company of a friend at the Garrick 
Club, or at a corner table in a coffee-room at one of the 
old hotels in Covent Garden." According to Sala, he 
was " a very handsome man, prematurely white as to 
hair and beard, with the clearest of complexions and 
a lustrous, speaking eye." 

Mrs. Jopling Rowe, who of course can only remember 
him in his later days, speaks of his broad, open forehead, 
his eyes gleaming with sudden kindly humour, his 

69 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

moustache and beard carelessly trimmed, and his 
general picturesqucness. 

Mrs. Panton writes to me of his dark, full beard, and 
silver-grey hair, which fell in a shock over his right eye, 
and which he used to toss back when he spoke or 
laughed. 

Blanchard Jerrold remembered " his fine presence 
and gallant bearing, his lively talk that assumed 
considerable knowledge in his listeners ... his gra- 
cious and sympathetic method of approach (which) 
bespoke the man who had enjoyed . . . the constant 
companionship of cultivated gentlewomen. Shirley 
Brooks could pay a compliment in the old, respectful 
style, and turn the corner of a mistake . . . with a 
special grace that was all his own." 

On one occasion he invited a gentleman and his 
daughter to dinner, but had omitted to give the number 
of his house. This being requested, he made an 
elaborate drawing of the outside of his street door, 
writing beneath it, " This is the side of my door on 
which I am least anxious to see you." 

" Not demonstrative," continues Jerrold, " nor in 
any way a gushing or sentimental man. Brooks was 
hearty. But his heartiness had been polished ; and 
he was to the unceremonious, bluff and fast folk of 
the present day, somewhat ceremonious and modish. 
His manner always reminded me of that of a fashionable 
physician." 

" He was," says his old friend Mr. Frith, " a hon 
vivant, but never guilty of the excesses which sometimes 
disfigure that character. ... He was open-handed 

70 



AS CONVERSATIONALIST 

to a fault. . . . He hated animals, his one bad trait 
in my eyes. . . . He always used to work in his shirt 
sleeves and ramp and rage at any noise." 

Without being a dandy he gave some thought to his 
appearance and dress. Mr. C. J. Tait's chief recollec- 
tion of his distinguished relative is as a youngster 
seated on his knee " wondering amazingly at his velvet 
waistcoat." And in one of his later diaries Shirley 
records, " Matthews, * Torie ' (Miss Matthews), and 
Jessy called, and Mr. Pepys exhibited himself in his new 
velvets, which, methought, did much content them." 

That is as some of his intimates saw him, and their 
evidence is sufficiently consistent. From others I 
gather that he was a brilliant raconteur, far more 
humorous in his conversation than in his writing. 
This humorous role he assumed with much seriousness. 
Indeed so much store did he lay upon his reputation as 
a talker that before a dinner-party he would shut 
himself up for an hour in his study and prepare for the 
conversational fray. And well he was rewarded, for 
he it was who kept the table in a roar, and with his 
handsome face and charming voice put everyone in 
a good humour. 

That there was one at least of his acquaintances 
who was at times conscious of a lack of spontaneity 
in his talk is clear from the following extract from an 
unpublished manuscript of " Reminiscences," by Henry 
Sutherland Edwards, kindly lent to me by Mr. George 
Thomas : — 

" Shirley Brooks," he writes, " was a brilhant, 
clever, and very agreeable man. But both his 

71 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

conversation and his writing would have been more in- 
teresting had he taken less pains to render them witty. 
He had plenty of genuine wit. But when he could 
think of nothing sparkling or facetious he had recourse 
to epigrammatic forms and antithetical moulds. There 
seemed to be some point in what he said, but it was 
nothing more than one part of a sentence balanced 
against another. There is a sad example of this on a 
tombstone in Norwood Cemetery, where Shirley 
Brooks's friend, Angus Reach, lies buried. The epitaph 
which could only have been from one hand, runs as 
follows : 

" Distinguished in Periodical Literature, 
Beloved in Private Life," 

two words beginning with a P and an L played off 
against two other words beginning with a P and an L. 
And to accomplish this alliterative feat the writer 
lowered the literary importance of the man he wished 
to honour." 

In other words, Shirley had a reputation as a talker 
and a writer to keep up, and had to eke out his wit 
when it ran thin with the tricks and antics known to 
all who have found themselves in a like position. 

Shirley took a lively interest in the small and great 
doings of the great and small people about him, of 
whom the world was talking. In the Punch days, 
frequenting the Bedford Hotel, which was kept by 
Mark Lemon's sister-in-law, Mrs. Warner, he was, 
with Lemon, Thackeray, and other Punch men, one 
of the few privileged persons who had the entree to the 
Shakespeare Room, Mrs. Warner's private parlour. 
And it must be confessed, these great and important 
personages were not above talking a great deal of 

72 



AS GOSSIP 

scandal and showing a great deal of curiosity about 
their neighbours' affairs, which could all be turned into 
conversational coin, with proper reservations, outside. 

A good story is told of one of the circle, which, though 
possibly hen trovato, is at least suggestive of an inqui- 
sitive atmosphere. One of the party writing at the 
table had a sudden suspicion that another was reading 
his letter as he wrote. He therefore stopped in the 
middle of his sentence and continued " Blank is reading 
this letter upside down as I write, so I don't tell you 
the rest of the story." And Blank, a young lady, 
blushed so scarlet that the writer's suspicions were duly 
justified. 

Nor did Shirley disguise his love of gossip. Here are 
two extracts from his diaries which are dehghtful in 
the naiveness of their self-revelation. 

There was a report going the rounds about the 
beautiful Mrs. Rousby, the actress, and a celebrated 
actor, and he writes : — 

" Cab to G[arrick]. Special meeting of P. Simpson, 
Walter Lacy, Johnny Deane and self round stove in 
hall to discuss the scandal. Talk of women loving such 
things — we are deliberate and unimpassioned tale- 
bearers — none of us care a d — about it, and we talk 
of nothing else." 

And the next day : — 

" Wrote T. Taylor, on two or three matters, but 
really to allude to the scandal ! " 

Very reprehensible, no doubt, but surely easily 
forgiven for the frankness of the confession. 

Of course, there were some people who, from one 

73 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

cause or another, did not love Shirley Brooks. He 
was too successful a man not to arouse jealousies. 
There was, for example, a certain would-be-smart 
person named Cecil Hay, who in 1870 pubHshed two 
volumes dealing with " The Club and the Drawing- 
Room." Here, in his description of the habitues of 
the Garrick Club, Shirley appears under the guise of 
" Mr. Cynical Suave." I give the passage for what 
it is worth, which is little enough, for, from the whole 
tone of the book, Mr. Hay must have been a most 
un-clubable person, and just such an one as Shirley 
or any other clubable man would have heartily and 
rightly detested : — 

" A very different person indeed from Mr. Grizzly 
is Mr. Cynical Suave, who is lounging at his ease in that 
very tempting armchair. Like Mr. Grizzly, Mr. Suave 
is a novelist, and a novelist of a very high order. His 
books are full of pretty comments, overflow with 
genuine epigrams, sting with their sarcasm, sparkle 
with vivacity, and fix irresistibly the most dull and 
lethargic of readers by the ingenious excellence of 
their plots. And, a very rare thing to find, Mr. Cynical 
Suave is in conversation much what his books are 
in literature. He is exceedingly amusing, very sharp, 
especially if you expose your flank to him by some 
heedless remark — apparently the soul of geniality and 
the quintessence of wit ; just the sort of man that 
every one is certain to like immensely the first time of 
meeting ; to like perhaps with moderation the second 
time ; and cordially to detest the third. It is cur- 
rently reported that Mr. Cynical Suave is not amenable 
to any of those sentiments which are generated by the 
virtue of charity ; that he will be your very good friend 

74 



REPARTEE 

one moment, and make a very good fool of you behind 
your back the next ; that he is precisely the one man 
of all others whom it is dangerous to convert into an 
enemy, and whom at the same time it is impossible to 
count upon as an ally." 

Of the real flavour of conversation, of verbal and 
other felicities, it is hard to recover anything worth 
having after the lapse of decades. The fizz has gone 
out of the champagne. Laughter has lost its ring. 
We can but recover the muffled echo. 

One of Shirley's repartees has been often told 
and always told wrong. One day at Mr. Frith's 
dinner-table one of the guests exclaimed : — 

" Punch ! does anyone read Punch ? I know I can't." 

" No one would expect that you could," flashed back 
Shirley. 

This story has had considerable currency, and I 
suppose appeals to some humours. Personally, I 
confess, it seems to me merely unmannerly. 

Puns were dreadfully in vogue in those days. One 
summer evening Thackeray arrived late at the Punch 
dinner. He had given up a lady's dinner for a dinner 
with Lord John Russell, and the little statesman had 
left him in the lurch. " So," he said, " I come as a 
peas-aller to Mr. P. to eat my peas in peace." 

*' But you must mind your Q's as well," said Shirley, 
** and you must take your cues from me or I shall not 
excuse you." 

Here are others from Mr. Silver's well-stored memory : 

One day Shirley brought up for dessert a noble 
pineapple which had been sent to him from Barbadoes. 

75 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" What a beauty ! " exclaimed Thackeray, and then 
without a moment's hesitation, " Silver, aren't you 
proud, Pinus silvae filia nohilis ? " 

For an instant Mr. Silver hesitated for a reply and 
Shirley burst in : — 

" My dear Thackeray, please remember that poor 
Silver is yet unwed. How can he recognise her yet — 
in good society ? " 

Here is an example of Shirley's readiness with a 
striking metaphor. The talk was of mercenary 
literature. 

" Writing a fine poem," he burst out, " merely to 
make money by it, is like turning a watermill with the 
sacred stream of Jordan, or chopping up the Cedars of 
Lebanon for firewood." 

** My carriage is waiting for Silver," once cried Du 
Maurier impatiently, indicating a waiting hansom cab. 

'' And mine for gold," said Shirley, "for / can't 
afford one." 

Here is another example of the readiness and 
rapidity with which the spark of his wit set fire to a 
train of thought : 

Mr. Silver had told him of a stage- failure. 

" When a play is damned," he said, " the critics 
all turn up their noses at it with a sniff as if they smelt 
the sulphur. And, after all, some of our playwrights 
may be all the better for a httle brimstone. It might 
help to cure them of their itch for popularity." 

And here another. 

Partridges were rather prematurely on the menu 
for dinner one First day of September. 

76 



AS ANECDOTIST 

" Ah/' said Shirley, " considering the perils their 
parents have survived, I am always inclined to call 
young partridges " The children of the missed ! " 

Here is another example from Sutherland Edwards's 
manuscript mentioned above : 

Angus Reach had been telling a story of a mediaeval 
German baron, quoted, I fancy, from '' Grimm's 
Fairy Tales," who, just above a small courtyard 
through which lay the entrance to his hall, sus- 
pended an immense millstone. He expected a visit 
of creditors from the neighbouring tDwn and, as soon 
as they had all assembled in the courtyard, let down 
the millstone and crushed them. 

" A perfectly legal action," said Brooks promptly. 
" He was well within his rights. He was merely 
making a composition with his creditors." 

From some corner of his memory Shirley was for 
ever picking out a good story which was new even to 
such accomplished anecdotists as his co-workers. 

There was the stuttering clergyman who generally 
made his pauses in the wrong places. One day he was 
pleading for a sailor who was g-going — to sea his wife 
— d-desired the prayers of the congregation. 

He was rarely rough on anyone, but now and then 
he was betrayed into severity. 

A budding young statesman had been advised to 
read in Shirley's presence something that Shirley had 
written on a subject upon which the young gentleman 
required enlightenment. 

" Brooks," he said, as the ideas sunk into his brain, 
*' Brooks, you are mad. Brooks, you are mad." 

77 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Never mind, my dear fellow," said Shirley, " it 
requires brains to go mad. There's no fear for you." 

But he was rarely so unkind as that, and, if he did 
find that his wit had been too sharp, would be quick 
to turn its point. 

As Mr. Spielmann says, " he was as witty as Jerrold 
without the sting, but, when he chose, he could 
strike hard, and, as he himself once said, never care a 
* horse's mamma.' . . . The faculty (of unexpected 
spontaneity) is distinctive of some of his best mots." 

One day he was looking at Edmund Yates's book- 
shelves. Pausing before one of them, he read off : — 

" Homer's Ihad ! Homer's " (pausing on the word), 
" Well, yes, that is the best." 

" On another occasion," says Mr. Spielmann, " he, 
with Mr. George Chester (my informant), was on a visit 
to Mark Lemon at Crawley, and at the breakfast-table 
a discussion arose between the two men upon noses, 
their shapes and characteristics. Turning kindly to 
one of his host's little daughters, and looking at her 
delicate little nez retrousse, he said, ' When they were 
looking about for a nose for you, my dear, they chose 
the first that turned up ' — a joke often since repeated 
and well nigh worked to death." 

Here is a story sent to me by Mr. Goodman, a nephew 
of Charles Salaman. 

On being introduced to Shirley, that well-known 
composer said : "I have often seen your face, Mr. 
Brooks, but I never knew to whom it belonged." 

" Oh," replied Brooks quickly, " it always belonged 
to me ! " 

He was very quick to play upon words. 

78 



GOOD AND BAD JOKES 

Mr. Frith tells how the merits of a certain poet 
were under discussion. Someone objected that his 
writings were immoral and indecent, and that he was 
not a poet at all. 

" Not a poet at all ? " echoed an admirer, " why 
the man was born a poet ! and if ever man proved the 
truth of the adage, ' poeta nascitur, non fit,' X, is that 
man." 

" So he is," said Brooks, "he is a poet of nastiness 
not fit for pubhcation."* 

But Shirley had not merely the capacity for making 
good jokes. When the atmosphere was sufficiently 
charged with gaiety he could be irresponsibly funny. 
He had the gift of nonsense. He was not too proud 
to make himself ridiculous for the delectation of the 
moment. If a bad riddle came into his head he would 
out with it, for it was always worth while to laugh : — 

" Why am I like a hospital blanket ? " he said to 
Mr. Frith at the end of a stiff climb. " Because I'm 
on the top of the 'ill." And the big man roared, and 
everyone else roared, and they were all the better for it. 

As we have seen, Shirley could pay a very pretty 
compliment. 

Thackeray, usually the soul of punctuality, arrived 
late one evening at the Punch Table, and explained 
that he had " barked his shin " in stepping from a 
carriage. 

" You'd better see a doctor," said Mark Lemon. 
" I've heard that the old fellow who used to drive 

* I have since seen this attributed to someone other than Shirley. 

79 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

* The Age/ the Brighton coach you know, barked his 
shin and died from it." 

" Yes/* said Shirley, " so Fve heard, but you see 
with Thackeray it's different. He doesn't drive the 
Age, he leads it." 

** Thank you," said Thackeray, *' that's very nicely 
said. I drink to your good health, sir." 

Sometimes his jokes, when repeated, lost their 
flavour, as jokes are apt to do. Here is a pleasing 
example from the pen of Montagu Williams.* 

" Mr. Keeley was very fond of telling stories of his 
wife, to whom he was most devotedly attached, and 
I remember one of them that caused a good deal of 
amusement as related. Shirley Brooks, it appeared, 
had gone to live in a little cottage in the country, 
where he devoted himself, among other things, to the 
rearing of fowls, ducks and pigs. One day a pig was 
killed, and he sent a portion of the animal in a parcel 
to Mrs. Keeley, with these lines : * His end was peace, 
so I send you a piece of his end.* Roaring with 
laughter, the old gentleman would say, alluding to 
his wife : ' Mother was telling the story the other 
day to somebody sitting next her at dinner, and she 
remarked, "■ So clever of Shirley, you know ; when he 
sent us the parcel he wrote on a piece of paper inside, 

* His end was peace, so I send you a bit of the pig.* *' 

I have said that Shirley was a great reader and 
possessed a remarkable memory. As a test of his 
power, Mrs. Jopling Rowe tells me he would read 

♦ Vide " Leaves of a Life." 

80 



MISQUOTATIONS 

a page of printed matter backwards and then 
immediately repeat it forwards ! 

At capping verses, a game much in vogue in his day, 
only Macaulay could have rivalled him. The pick of 
English poetry from Chaucer to Tennyson was at his 
tongue's tip. 

But I doubt whether even Macaulay would 
have approached him in his powers of deliberate 
wzsquotation. 

A few examples have happily escaped oblivion. 

When Mr. Fall, the photographer, first settled in 
Baker Street, he asked Shirley, whose portrait he had 
taken gratis, for a testimonial. Shirley at once 
repHed : — 

" Except that I sat to you, the following line from 
Milton appears to indicate the relations between us : — 

' Sufficient to have stood, though free, to Fall.' " 

Here are two more. 

It was in the days when monstrous chignons 
disfigured the heads of pretty girls : — 

" What great heads girls have nowadays," said an 
old lady. 

" Yes," said Shirley, " they remind me of Shake- 
speare's line about the billows * curling their monstrous 
heads,' and they've got precious little inside them too." 

On one occasion, Yates relates in his " Reminis- 
cences," talk turned on the horrors of catalepsy and 
being buried alive. Yates mentioned the Frankfort 
custom of depositing bodies in the dead-house for 
twenty-four hours before burial, with a bell-rope 

81 

7— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

attached to the wrist, by which a signal might at once 
be given in the event of returning animation. 

" Ah," said Shirley, without a moment's hesitation, 
** that evidently suggested Tennyson's line : 

* Many a morning on the moorland did I hear the copses ring ! ' " 

But, though Shirley's mind was crammed full of 
poetry, he had no love for, or knowledge of, 
music. 

One day Mr. Silver and Charles Keene had been 
singing in the chorus of the Handel Festival at the 
Crystal Palace, and arrived late, tired and hungry, 
at the Punch dinner. They enlarged upon the dis- 
comforts which they had undergone in the over- 
crowded trains, for there was no High-Level then. 
At first Shirley chaffed them pitilessly, declaring 
that the game was not worth the candle, that it was 
waste of time and all the rest of it. Then he changed 
his tone, confessing that he had no right to criticise 
their taste, for the concord of sweet sounds meant 
nothing to him. And then he stirred their laughter 
by telling how, totally ignorant of music as he was, 
in the exercise of his Jack-of-all-trades journalism, 
he had often supplied ** copy " to the newspapers on 
musical subjects. Here was a fine fragment of his 
critical inventiveness : — 

" Over the deep abyss of bass there floated, like a 
poised lark, a silvery cloud of treble, amid which the 
shrill tremolo of the higher strings seemed quiveringly 
to glitter like the arrows of a sun-shaft through the 
mist of early morning." 

82 



HIS MEMORY 

But that is drifting away from the point that I was 
on — his marvellous memory for poetry and his power 
of adapting quotations to unexpected uses. 

I shall conclude this chapter by giving a passage 
from a remarkable contribution made by him to the 
1865 ''Pocket Book," which, he assured the Punch 
Table, had been composed without any reference to 
the poets whose work he so cleverly misused, and had 
taken him but little time or thought. He fitly entitled 
the production " Mnemosyne," and modestly declared 
himself " the greatest poet of this or any other age." 
For proof he sends this short poem (of some seventy 
lines) which he has just " knocked off." Therein, he 
says — and says, be it remarked, with a truthfulness 
about which there can be no question — he has 
" combined the beauties of Milton, Shakespeare, and 
Marlowe," together with a score of other poets, includ- 
ing Mrs. Browning, *' Festus " Bailey, Bryant, Byron, 
Bulwer-Lytton, Akenside and Burns. As an effort of 
memory it would, I think, be hard to beat, composed 
as it is of rhyming lines divorced from their contexts 
and woven into a sounding, though, it must be 
confessed, wholly senseless, " poem." 

It would not be a bad exercise for a wet day to see 
who could appropriate to their authors the larger 
number of these pilfered lines : — ■ 

" Full many a gem of purest ray serene, 
That to be hated needs but to be seen, 
Invites my lays : be present, sylvan maids. 
And graceful deer reposing in the shades. 
I am the Morning and the Evening Star, 
Drag the slow barge or whirl the rapid car, 
83 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

While wrapt in fire the realms of ether glow, 
Or private dirt on public virtue throw. 
How small of all that human hearts endure 
The short and simple annals of the ])oor ! 
I would commend their bodies to the rack : 
At least we'll die with harness on our back. 
Remote, unfriended, melancholy, slow, 
Virtue alone is happiness below, 
As vipers sting, though dead, by some review ; 
And now thou see'st my soul's angelic hue ! 

Lorenzo, to recriminate is just : 

Can storied urn or animated bust 

Survey mankind from China to Peru, 

And see the great Achilles, whom we knew ? 

" Why to yon mountain turns the musing eye ? 
Is there no bright reversion in the sky ? 
Not to admire is all the art I know. 
Or by the lazy Scheld, or wandering Po ; 
Why was my Cressid then so hard to win ? 
The light is quenched she looked so lovely in, 
As Argus' eyes, by Hermes' wand oppressed, 
Sank pleased, but hungry, on her Sawney's breast. 

" Time fleeted, years on years had passed away, 
(Laymen have leave to dance, if parsons play) ; 
Her silent watch the pensive mother keeps, 
And Cupids ride the lion of the deeps. 
And I would sooner stop the unchained dove. 
In every gesture dignity and love. 
And round its snowy wing new fetters twine. 
Than print one stolen verse, one borrowed line.' 



84 



CHAPTER V 



Characteristics (continued) — Love for Children — Sympathy — 
Birthdays — Generosity — Modesty — Industry — Writing to the 
Papers — Dreams — As Letter-writer — " Alton Locke." 

ERELY to say that Shirley never 
grew old would be 
misleading. He always 
seemed to himself a boy 
masquerading as a man. 
He retained his freshness 
to the last. He was 
especially in his element 
when surrounded by 
children. To see him the 
centre of a group of wide- 
eyed youngsters reading 
his favourite poem, " The 
Jabberwock," or " Alice's 
Adventures in Wonder- 
land," was to see him 
only as the biggest youngster among them. 

One day, dining with Mr. and Mrs. Silver at their 
charming house in The Terrace, Kensington, once 
occupied by John Leech, now swept away by the 
avalanche of bricks and mortar, Shirley talked of 
Leech's love for children. The thought of his dead 

85 




SHIRLEY BROOKS 

friend checked his gaiety for the moment, and, as he 
went on to talk of his own httle boys, he said : — 

" I'm afraid I rather spoil them, but really I can't 
help it. We can never be too kind to our own 
children. We should always remember the wrong we 
have done them by bringing them without their leave 
into this bad world." 

Soon, however, he lifted the talk to the level of 
cheerfulness by saying : 

" Yes, you see, I'm like the Persians, a son- 
worshipper ! " 

But it was not his way to bore people by talking too 
long of his own affairs, and he as promptly turned 
the conversation to what he thought would be of 
more interest to his young hostess, who then was 
new to England. France, of course, must be what 
she wished to talk of most. And, if France, then 
Jeanne d'Arc. 

" How proud you must be that you were born in 
France, as she was ! " he exclaimed. 

Then he went on to say that, except, of course, the 
Holy Virgin, she seemed to him the most inspired and 
heavenly-minded of all the noble women who had ever 
lived. 

It was this ready sympathy that made him especially 
beloved of women and children. And he was always 
alive to their little affairs, their little interests. 

It was characteristic of what " Ponny " Mayhew 
called his " ready-money " memory that he did not 
ignore what most men would consider beneath their 
notice. He knew that great things could, like grown-up 

86 



BIRTHDAYS 

people, take care of themselves. It was the little 
things of life, like little children, that needed fostering. 

It was part of his religion to remember birthdays. 
They were the rubrics of his breviary, the saints' days 
of his friendships, and, however overwhelmed with 
work he was, few days passed without his marking 
them with a birthday letter to somebody. 

Once at the Punch Table, to the surprise of Mr. Silver, 
who had no idea that Shirley even knew Mrs. Silver's 
birthday, he raised his glass to her health, and sent 
the following story as a birthday present : — 

A small boy declared that there were but eight 
commandments. He knew that there had been ten. 
" But Bobby broke two yesterday. He first stole my 
sugar-plums and then said he hadn't seen them." 

Mrs. Silver still remembers a pretty little compliment 
he paid her, partly no doubt because it was the 
sort of compliment a woman never forgets, partly too 
because, in those days, she wondered at an Englishman 
having the wit to pay it. Mr. Silver had been telling 
him of a fly-catcher nesting in their urban garden 
and sitting quietly on her nest throughout a large 
garden party, although all the ladies were brought 
up in turn to look at her. 

** What a good little woman ! " exclaimed Shirley. 

Then, turning to Mrs. Silver, he said in his courtliest 
manner : 

'* I fear I'm rather sceptical about the goodness of 
good women, but, whenever I'm talking with you, 
I become quite a believer in it." 

Shirley had much of the simplicity of a great man 

87 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

combined with the sophistication of a man of the world. 
His kindhness was innate, and kept aUve by observ- 
ances ; his business-Hke quahties were the result of 
definite moral determination. It was the first that 
made him beloved by all around him, the last that 
brought him the success he deserved. 

As he was never too busy to write a birthday letter, 
so he was never too busy to cut a scrap out of a news- 
paper, or copy out a passage from a book, and send it 
to the person whom it would most gratify. 

On this point Mrs. Jopling Rowe writes : "With all his 
untiring kindness, speaking to, and writing to everyone 
whom he thought might help me, he never wished or 
expected thanks. . . . He never let one feel under an 
obligation to him. . . . Busy as his life was, he always 
found time to give a helping hand to those in need 
of it." 

As it was with friends, so it was with certain of his 
relations and acquaintances who were anything but 
friends. The diaries are punctuated with notes of 
letters to and from what he called his " suckers " — 
poor and improvident and ungrateful kinsmen, poor 
and unfortunate acquaintances of early days who now 
presumed on former friendship — or the reverse — to 
demand assistance, and poor and unsuccessful writers 
who knew him, or did not know him, and who traded 
on his recognised generosity. 

These were, of course, in a different category from 
his father, the responsibility for whose maintenance 
for many years he cheerfully assumed as a matter of 
course. 

88 



CURIOSITY 

We may not much admire Shirley's love of gossip. 
Curiosity was indeed a note of his character. But it 
was not all or mostly morbid. Gossip on a point of 
literary interest or scholarship appealed to him as much 
as gossip about people. He would hoard up a piquant 
morsel until the moment came for firing it off with 
best effect. 

One day he records in his diary how he had been 
shown at the '^ Garrick " a manuscript by Pope con- 
taining an unpublished and appalling line on the Duke 
of Marlborough : 

" ' Madness and lust,' said God, ' shall be thy heirs.' " 

With this in his head he went to that night's dinner- 
party, waited for the psychological moment, and then 
flung it down. In his own words, " it burst on them 
like a shell." He gloated over it as an anarchist over 
a successful piece of bomb-throwing. 

He was not a learned man in the ordinary sense. 
He was inquisitive and never forgot. Knowledge had 
accumulated rather than been acquired. What he 
knew had not come in streams, cutting grooves in his 
mind. It had come in drops, gradually flooding it. 
Thus he became broad-minded, level-minded, tolerant. 
Tout comprendre was with him tout pardonner. Know- 
ledge was of the heart as well as of the brain. He was 
a walking Notes and Queries, bound up with a 
" Dictionary of Quotations " of his own making. 

And then his industry. For years he contributed 
weekly at least two columns to Punch, which was 
printed much closer in those days, a page of gossip to 

89 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

the Illustrated London News, and leaders to the twin 
editions of Home News. And most of the time lie 
would have a burlesque or melodrama on hand, or a 
serial novel appearing in monthly numbers. 

There was no typewriting in those days. He had 
no secretary. Every scrap of transcribing was done 
with his own hand, and, what was more, it was a joy 
to the type-setters. Barring Thackeray, whose eyes, 
though short-sighted, were, unlike Sam Weller's, of 
" hextra " magnifying power, he wrote a clearer and 
smaller hand than any of the Punch men of his day. 

And his brain worked smoothly as his hand, like 
the parts of a well-balanced machine. 

Few men, I should fancy, ever wrote six songs in 
one day at three guineas apiece, but Shirley did, and, 
what is worse, was proud of having done it. 

In a word, Shirley was a man wrought almost to the 
pitch of j ournalistic perfection . Outwardly monotonous, 
inwardly his work was alive with variety. Ostensibly 
a slavery, it came to be the very acme of freedom. 
The periodical press was his world, and he never 
lost the flavour of its many little, its rarely exalted, 
triumphs. Even after he became the powerful editor 
of a powerful periodical, he continued to note in his 
diary the quotations made from his contributions in the 
pages of his contemporaries, and he never tired of 
firing off letters to the Times, and never ceased to 
triumph at seeing his name in print. 

This was also a fad of his father's, who apparently 
spent a good part of his leisurely old age in writing to 
the papers or to persons in exalted positions. Many 

90 



ALWAYS LEARNING 

of these epistles were rather indiscreet. Fortunately 
he used to send them to Shirley to correct, which he 
sometimes did and sometimes treated more drastically. 
Here is an example. On June 20th, 1865, he writes 
in his diary : " Letter from the governor to the Queen, 
begging and praying that the new Prince may not be 
called ' Emmanuel,' as it is wicked. But I do not 
think it will influence her, for several reasons, one being 
that I will not send it." 

Shirley was not, I think, so much conceited, as 
interested in himself as a phenomenon amongst 
phenomena. Constantly we catch him in his diaries 
struck with astonishment that one small brain, perhaps 
a few grains heavier than the average, could carry, and 
make use of, all he knew. 

Indeed, I find him rather modest than conceited, 
not regarding himself as a great man, but alive to 
the fun of being so regarded. Certainly he was 
never too proud to learn of his colleagues or anyone 
else. 

Here are two undated letters which may stand for 
examples : — 

Shirley Brooks to Percival Leigh. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park. 

" Saturday. 

** My dear Leigh, 

" Here's your weather, and how are the field- fares ? 

" I want to ask you a semi-classical question. First, 

how would you Latinize Shirley ? Second, what 

would you make its genitive ? I have no doubt, but 

91 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

I want an authoritative testimony, as I profess only 
a skimmy classicality. 

" My fingers are too cold to write more ; just give 
me a line in reply. 

" Ever yours, 

"S. B." 

Ditto to Ditto. 

" My dear Leigh, 

" Of your charity. Is Phlegethon, river in hell, 
accented on the first syllable ? If so, never mind. 
If not, do like a good fellow ask for an epigram in 
which I have made it rhyme to ' eggeth on,' and alter 
it into something else. It seems outrageous to be 
uncertain, but away from books and thoughtful habits, 
uncertainties come on one, and I have a touch of 
colchicum, though not much. 

" Ever, 
"S. B." 

Like many other men actively engaged in mental 
labour and careless of their digestions, Shirley hardly 
knew the meaning of dreamless sleep. And his 
dreams were so much a matter of interest to him that 
he laid himself out to record them in his diary. Here 
are some amusing examples : — 

" Feb. 26/A, 1870. 

" Fancy I dreamed of receiving a deputation from 
the lower orders, asking that public men might not 
quote Latin. Replied that no offence was meant, 
and that it was only a sort of Shibboleth, Uke the brutal 
language of the lower orders themselves. Yet meant 
to be considerate and respectful." 

92 



ODD DREAMS 

"Sept. nth, 1870. 

" Did not sleep over well, and had unpleasant 
dreams about one, of whom, waking, I never think 
but in love. These things should show us the abject 
folly of caring for a dream, yet, as Shelley says, it can 
' poison sleep.' " 

" Nov. 8th, 1870. 

" Odd dreams ; saw a girl who was engaged, but, 
wishing it secret, had put the ring, a signet with words, 
on her little toe ! " 

" August 8th, 1873. 

" Had odd dreams, but I find that unless one records 
even the vividest dream in the most detailed and exact 
way, one utterly forgets it. A mere reference is useless, 
though when making it one seems never likely to forget 
the vision. This is noteworthy — words really said 
to one would certainly be recalled by a slight 
memorandum." 

" August 29th, 1873. 

" Idiotic dream, of which I see I took note, about 
my grandfather S., who was going to wrong me by 
marrying a nymph, called Daphne. Perhaps he will 
explain * in another place.* " 

" Sept. I3th, 1873. 

" Slept well, and dreamt that one of my little toes 
had come off, but I did not seem to care. Where is the 
Daniel to expound ? " 

" Dec. 22nd, 1873. 

" Had an odd dream — thought I was reading Milton, 
and came on a passage in which the angel, i.e., some 
angel, talking to innocent and naked Eve, told her 
that all the angels believed that when God had made 
Adam, the Deity had done all He meant to do for 
the world, and that no angel believed He would create 

93 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

for it a being so like themselves. A very civil angel, but 
is there anything like it in ' P. L.' ? I don't think so." 

" { 1873.) 

" Dreamed a glorious dream ! P. of Wales came to 
Garrick Club. I did not seek to speak to him, but, 
hearing my name, he said * Are you C, W. S. B. ? ' 
* That is my name, sir.' ' But I am d — d if you shall 
have it longer — you shall be a baronet. I'll see to 
that ; think of Sir Isaac Newton.' " 

Early in the " sixties," he said at the Punch Table* : 
" I often travel in Dreamland, but seldom come away 
with anything worth going for. I once dreamed that 
I saw Bradbury whacking " Pater " Evans on the 
knuckles with a walking-stick, and distinctly heard 
him quote Lady Macbeth — * See how our Partner's 
rapt.' " t 

Thereupon Sir John Tenniel recalled a couplet 

dreamed by Douglas Jerrold, 

" And now our hero's grown so tall 
His knees are on his head." 

Then Mark Lemon said that he once dreamed a play, 
got out of bed, sat down in his night gear, sketched the 
plot out clearly, caught a violent cold, and made a 
hundred pounds by it. 

Keene, too, said that he often dreamed a Punch 
drawing, and Tom Taylor wound up the conversation 
by telling how he dreamed that he had been operated 
upon for stone. After seeing several extracted, there 
came finally a large one bearing a Latin label, which 

* From Mr. Silver's notes. 

f Here Shirley's memory tripped. • It was Banquo who used the 
expression, and he said " Look," not " See." 

94 



AS LETTER-WRITER 

he tried in vain to decipher. He awoke to find his 
wife's knee pressing into his back ! — no doubt the 
causa causans of the dream. 

It is admitted that Shirley was a great talker, but 
he did not talk to hear his own voice. He talked 
because he had interesting things to say, and he talked 
because there were interesting things to be discovered. 
He used conversation as a spade to dig up the thoughts 
of others as well as his own. He talked because it was 
a pleasure, just as he worked because work was the 
greatest pleasure of all. A lover of ease, he got the 
reward of rousing himself to energy. A lover of society, 
he never allowed its attractions to master him. A 
lover of books, he was not betrayed into pedantry. 
Loving life, he recognised that it was a mortal 
disease. Living in the presence of death, he did not 
allow its nearness to damp his ardour for activity. 

In this and the preceding chapter I have endeavoured 
to open the case for Shirley Brooks as he appeared 
to those around him. In the following pages he will 
often be given the opportunity of speaking for himself 
in his letters and diaries. For although, through all 
his working hours, his pen was in his hand, Shirley 
did not throw it down when his work was done. Next 
to chatting with a friend face to face, he loved to chat 
with him on paper. His correspondence was enormous. 
He cultivated letter- writing as an art. Few of even 
his shortest notes but had a story, an epigram, a 
sentence worth preserving. As Mortimer Collins said 
of him, he loved to play with ideas, blow iridescent 
bubbles of thought, and showed " the apprehensive 

95 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

forgetive faculty " in its perfection. He wrote 
sparkling, witty, kindly letters, about nothing and 
everything, by the hundred. As Wilham Blanchard 
Jerrold says of this and other qualities : — 

" In some of his letters he frolicked like a schoolboy ; 
in others he would set seriously to work to solve or 
illustrate some literary subject that had accidentally 
turned up. He would enter upon a long correspond- 
ence to serve a friend. You never found him exhausted, 
seldom tired. If you caught him lounging by the 
dainty conservatory he had in his house, after a long 
day upstairs in his study, he would be reading the last 
Quarterly, or dallying with a novel by one of his friends 
— but he would brighten for a talk, and be sure to shine 
in it. When he had finished his correspondence for 
the day, after his work, he would take his letters to the 
post himself. It was his orderly way. You could see 
his methodical mind in the precise writing, the un- 
broken lines, the absence of any sign of haste from his 
shortest notes. His books and pictures were arranged 
with extraordinary neatness. He had photograph 
albums of friends, with their autographs and character- 
istic bits from their letters contrived with exquisite care 
under each. One letter of his, which I happen to have 
under my hand, is a good example of his unsleeping 
watchfulness over all about him, over the welfare of a 
friend, over the success of any undertaking in which he 
was concerned. The opening paragraph refers to 
some domestic joke we had in common : — 

" Ath Monday in Lent [March 24ih), 1873. 

" My dear William, 

" I can write to you. The consciousness of 
innocence sits upon my brow, and also flutters over 
my inkstand, which I consider a rather fine image. 

96 



A HELPING HAND 

" The C. K. memorial* will, I hope, be a success. 
Routledge began it, and is very energetic. It ought 
to be something artistic, at Windsor. Some folks are 
pushing about an ' educational tribute,' etc., but I 
think we need not flavour everything with the smell 
of corduroy. 'Tis quite dominant enough already. 
You ought to be on the committee. . . . 

" Do you know Mrs. L. R. ? f She is a young artist 
of great merit. Frith and Tom Taylor prophesy a great 
career for her, and she is studying in Paris — having 
exhibited many pictures here, at the Academ.y, etc. 
It would be very kind if L. or you, or both, would give 
her a call, if you can. I subjoin the address. I know 
not what part of Paris it is in — you will. If you go, 
say that you are friends of mine, and that Mrs. Brooks 
will call on her when she comes. You will like her — she 
is very bright. 

" No news but those you read in the papers. They 
say to-day that Jessel is to be Master of the Rolls at 
once. 

" If M. Dore is in Paris, I beg my best compliments 
to him. Do you see PlimsoU wanted, or wants, him to 
paint a picture on the cofhn-ships ? And wouldn't he 
do it grandly ! Kindest regards. 

** Ever yours, 

** Shirley Brooks." 

It may be noted that Dore declined the subject — 
deeming it a political one, on the merits of which he 
was not competent to pronounce judgment with his 
brush." 



* The memorial to Charles Knight, of which Shirley Brooks was 
honorary secretary. 

I Mrs. Frank Romer, now Mrs. Jopling Rowe. 

97 

8— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

I shall conclude this chapter with the earliest letter 
from Shirley's pen which has come into my hands. For 
it I am indebted to Mr. W. L. Fleming. It is interesting 
for more than one reason. In the first place the 
publication of an " Alton Locke " in these days would 
hardly be looked upon as a daring act. In the second 
place we discover the revolt against the three-volume 
novel already beginning, though not destined to come 
to a head for several decades. In the third place, we 
find Shirley rightly prophesying the sensation which 
was to be caused by Charles Kingsley's famous novel. 

Shirley Brooks to Messrs. Chapman & Hall. 

" 63 Lincoln's Inn Fields, 

" Tuesday. (1849.) 

" Dear Sirs, 

" I should have done myself the pleasure of asking 
personally the question I write to ask, but hardly knew 
which member of your firm to enquire for. Let me 
premise that my making the following enquiry, and 
any reply you may send me will be confidential matter. 
The editor of the Morning Chronicle (with which I am 
connected) has requested from me a review of an 
extraordinary novel just published by your house, 
* Alton Locke.' I have not been so struck by any work 
I have taken up for years, and shall endeavour to 
make the article upon it a decided exception to the 
ordinary notices sone writes of fictional works. It is 
a gratifying thing to see that a publisher dares to 
publish such a work, an evidence of courage, which, 
combined with the two-volume system, promises a 
speedy doom to the ' novel mongering ' practices of 
the hour. But this is by the way. I am anxious 
to ask you whether you are at liberty or inclined to 

98 



"ALTON LOCKE" 

let me know the author's name. I will, of course, 
preserve the secret, and give no clue whatever to it, 
if that be your wish, but I could deal much more 
satisfactorily with the work if I knew anything of the 
writer's antecedents. If, therefore, you are at liberty 
to use your discretion in this matter, perhaps you will 
do so, and give me whatever information you may think 
it expedient to afford. 

" * Alton Locke * must make a strange sensation. 

** Believe me, dear Sirs, 

** Yours very truly, 

" Shirley Brooks." 



99 



CHAPTER VI 

Punch and the Punch Table. 




work of a jour- 
nalist is in its 
essence ephemeral. 
The flavour of it 
evaporates almost 
as soon as it is born. 
It does not mellow ; it 
goes flat with age. Apart 
from the personality of 
its producer, it is, after its day, hardly worthy of con- 
sideration. That is where it differs from literature, or 
in fact any work destined to last. The personality of 
a Justinian, a Shakespeare, an Edison is a secondary 
matter. We have their gifts and that is enough. But 
with the great journalist, the personality behind the 
journalism, when its day is past, is the important thing. 
Probably Shirley Brooks did not leave a single line 
lacking which English literature would be the poorer, 
and yet his work is important. He was a master 

100 



"PUNCH'S" EDITORS 

mason on one of the stages of the vast building which 
is always, we hope, reaching nearer to the stars. A 
person of importance in his day, his personality makes 
the doing of his work important. A treadmill on the 
outside is as uninteresting and unlovely an object as 
you may discover. Peep inside at the man who is 
climbing its unending stairs, and you will find that it is 
full of poignant interest. Or take an example which is 
germane to our subject — the serried array of Punch 
volumes which stands upon our shelves. Who ever 
fully appreciated them until Mr. Spielmann came along, 
took us behind the scenes, and showed us the actors 
making up for their parts ? 

And what he has done with such skill in the 
case of all the company, I have to do with more 
particularity in the case of one of Ptmch's great actor- 
managers, the roll of whom is complete with the names 
of Mark Lemon, Shirley Brooks, Tom Taylor, Sir 
Francis Burnand, and Mr. Owen Seaman.* 

With these men behind him, Mr. Punch has, for over 
sixty years, taken a prominent and leading part in the 
formation of public opinion. Appealing to our feelings 

* There has, of course, been some controversy as to the first 
editorship. Here is what Shirley Brooks had to say on the matter : 
" From the first the editorship was in the hands of my predecessor, 
Mark Lemon ; the opening address was from his pen, and he was 
sole editor from July 17th, 1841 (the day of the birth of the 
publication) until May 23rd, 1870, the day of his lamented death." 

As showing to what extremes inaccuracy has nm, it may be 
mentioned that, according to the City Press, Shirley Brooks was 
himself one of the originators of Punch — Shirley Brooks who did not 
come on the scenes until ten years after the paper was started ! 

101 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

as well as to our judgment, he has become the subUma- 
tion, the incorporation so to speak, of the aphorism 
that there is many a true word spoken in jest. Further, 
he has firmly grasped the fact that he is gilder-in-chief 
to the nation of not always palatable pills. For those 
who look on Punch merely as the Jester are curiously 
short-sighted. They are ignorant or oblivious of the 
fact that his policy is as carefully considered as that 
of his most serious contemporaries. He has, of course, 
often been wrong, but, though it may sound paradoxical, 
it is nevertheless true that, had he not been often 
wrong, he could not have been oftener right. For it 
is the Exigency of Being or Doing, especially with 
those who take a line for themselves, to be wrong 
sometimes. That cannot be avoided, except by not 
Being nor Doing at all. And we, looking back on 
Punch's career, can see that though he has not always 
been right, he has generally been on the side of the 
angels. 

But, those will say who only look at the outside of 
things, Shirley Brooks was editor of Punch for only 
four years. Whereon does his claim to be a great 
Punch force rest ? The answer is easy. His claim 
does not alone rest on what he did whilst occupying the 
editorial chair. It rests also on what he did as chief 
lieutenant to Mark Lemon. For years he was the 
hidden mainspring, the power behind the throne. 
Mark Lemon made no secret of this. Again and again 
he declared that Shirley was the one man upon whom 
he could depend in any emergency, and when, though 
still nominally editor, he was laid aside, it was to 

102 



A GENIUS OF JUDGMENT 

Shirley's shoulders that all responsibility was trans- 
ferred. The truth of this will become more and more 
apparent as the story unfolds itself. 

It is, as Mortimer Collins writing of Shirley Brooks 
said, " the misfortune of those who expend their main 
energy on periodic literature that their real genius 
is not often recognised." After an evening spent with 
Theodore Hook, Coleridge said that he was as great 
a genius as Dante. That was no doubt hyperbole, 
but what he meant was that genius may expend itself 
on ephemeral themes, and consequently escape recog- 
nition. And, though the man may lose in glory, the 
profit to the public may be greater than if he had 
devoted himself to more permanent forms. Indeed, 
unhesitatingly it may be said that amongst the 
geniuses, and I do not use the word lightly, which have 
sat at Punch's Table, there have been some who might 
have been nameless for all the recognition they ever 
had at the hands of the public. And though I do not 
claim for Shirley Brooks the literary genius that certain 
of his contemporaries did, I do, with Mortimer ColHns, 
claim for him that he had a genius of judgment, a 
genius for throwing the halo of humour and romance 
around political and social topics, a genius for taking the 
sting from political strife, a genius for lightening the 
atmosphere, for reconciling class with class. 

These, I think, are the keynotes of Punch's general 
policy, not only to shoot folly as it files, but to put 
things on a less serious, and so a truer, basis. 

Anybody who searches the pages of Punch for himself 
must have this borne in upon him. And no one on the 

103 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

staff ever carried out this policy more loyally and more 
honestly than did Shirley Brooks. 

At the same time it must be remembered that, in his 
public capacity, a journalist has not altogether a free 
hand. He must always keep the law of libel engraven 
on his heart. He must consider the interests of his 
employers. He must look to the prosperity of their 
paper. Thus it comes about that what he dares to 
publish is but an inadequate rendering of what he 
really knows and thinks. It is of necessity compact 
of reservations. 

That is why we want to get behind the scenes and 
supplement the public utterances of the journalist with 
the private utterances of his letters and diaries. That 
is why we have the legitimate desire to know what the 
men, who have helped to mould public opinion, are 
in real life. Then we can read between the lines. 
Then the stale wine, whose virtue has evaporated with 
age, will fizz and sparkle once again. 

An extreme example of what I mean is given in the 
recently published " Letters of George Birkbeck 
Hill " :— 

" At a Royal Academy dinner Browning was seated 
next to Disraeli, who remarked to the poet that the 
walls were covered with rubbish. Shortly afterwards, 
however, on getting up to speak, Disraeli enlarged on 
the glories of English art, especially on the portrait- 
painting and the landscapes, and pointed to the walls. 
When he sat down, Browning asked him how he recon- 
ciled with his speech what he had said to him privately. 
He replied, ' My dear Browning, are you so ignorant 

104 



FIRST CONTRIBUTION TO "PUNCH" 

as not to know the difference between a man's private 
and public utterances ? ' " When Browning repeated 
this to Gladstone he " looked severe and sternly said 
* Hellish.' " But could Mr. Gladstone have put his 
hand on his heart and declared that he had never in 
his life been guilty of mental reservation — only different 
in degree from direct misrepresentation ? If not, then 
he was often in the same box as his great rival, for if 
truth means anything, it means the whole truth and 
nothing but the truth. 

And Shirley Brooks was in like case with every 
statesman, every journalist, every man but One who 
has ever lived. He who has most to say has most 
to conceal. A Rousseau may profess to say every- 
thing, but even he cannot. It is left to a Froude 
to show us the real Carlyle, and even then but in 
part. 

It was at the end of 1851 that Mark Lemon accepted 
Shirley's first sporadic contribution, and before six 
months were past he was making a weekly appearance 
in Punch with his novelette, " Miss Violet and her 
Offers." Yates considered that " weekly " should in 
this instance be spelled with an " a," but there I differ 
from him. It seems to me a good deal more readable 
than much of Shirley's work that Yates admired. It 
seems to me instinct with the unaffected gaiety of a 
young girl, and though perhaps not very well suited 
to the pages of Punch, something in the nature of a 
tour de force. Anyhow, Bentley was so struck by the 
young author's ability, as displayed in what Sala called 
" this vivacious tale of modern hfe," that he sought 

105 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

him out and made overtures to him for a novel, for the 
famous Miscellany. 

The papers were repubhshed in book form in 1875, 
the year after Shirley's death, in conjunction with 
" The Naggletons." The idea of republishing these 
last had been mooted as early as 1871, when Shirley 
wrote in his diary : — 

" W'hitefriars. They want to bring out my 
* Naggletons ' in a separate form. Some of it is smart 
enough ; I do not see any objection." 

But this was delayed by his proposal to write up the 
dialogues and so connect them by a stronger thread 
of interest — a proposal which, in the event, his 
overwhelming engagements rendered impossible. 

Mr. and Mrs. Naggleton can never converse without 
falling foul of one another. The following may stand 
for an example of Shirley's earlier contributions, and 
the more fitly because, unhappily, there is in it some 
echo of his own domestic differences : — 

Scene. — The Zoological Gardens. A beautiful afternoon. 
Sunday. The clock over the camel says half -past 
three. A large gathering of the Upper Ten Thousand. 
Mr. and Mrs. Naggleton, the Misses Emmeline 
and Cecilia Naggleton, and the Masters Edgar, 
Walter, and Peter Naggleton, all in spring 
array, enter, and advance up the Broad Walk. 

Mrs. Naggleton. Pierre, do not hop. This is 
Sunday. 

Mr. N . Yes, remember, Peter, nothing hops on 
Sundays, except the birds, who know no better, having 
no private tutors. 

106 



"THE NAGGLETONS" 

Mrs. N. That is right ; make him laugh at his 
mother's advice. 

Mr. N. On the contrary, my dear, I would imprint 
it on his memory. Though I don't know why he 
shouldn't hop, hke the little hills. 

Mrs. N. I am not acquainted with the family you 
mention, and I do not wish them proposed as models 
for my children. 

Mr. N. Nicely you attend to your Brady and Tate, 
Mrs. Naggleton. 

Mrs. N. (recollecting and sternly.) Pray, Henry, 
abstain from such profanity while your children are 
within hearing. 

Mr. N. Profanity is in intention, my dear. Mr. 
Snotchley had the sense to quote that, when you were 
good enough to laugh at his old joke about Paul being 
a cricketer, because he stood up for the eleven and was 
bowled, and Rhoda stood at the wicket. 

Mrs. N. That was real wit, and I wonder you 
understood it. 

Mr. N. Oh, wonderful husband, that can so 
astonish his wife ! Shakespeare. 

Mrs. N. I think you might do better than mouth 
out Shakespeare on Sunday. Emmeline, come away 
from the bears ! 

Mr. N. Bless me, they came here to see the beasts, 
and they shall see them. Jump, Syllabubs. (Lifts her 
to the rail.) Here, Walter, take this fourpenny bit, and 
see how many stale buns that young lady will give you. 

Mrs. N. Teaching your children to break the 
Sabbath in that manner ! 

Mr. N. I am teaching them to break nothing except 
buns. Isn't a bear to be fed on Sunday, especially 
when he has fallen into a pit ? That's a man, Walter — 
a bun a-piece. Where's the stick ? Here we are. 
Now, Mr. Bear, climb for your lunch ! 

107 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Mrs. N. I shall walk on to the chairs on the grass. 
I can at least avoid witnessing what I disapprove. 

Mr. N. All right, dear ; go and stare at the bonnets, 
while we finish our secular duties. 

(Exit Mrs. N.) 

Walter. Come on, Papa, don't give all the buns to 
these stupid beasts. I want to give something to the 
'ippopotamus. 

Mr. N. So you ought, in return for the " h " 
you've taken away from him. 

(Shout of laughter from the children. Mrs. N. 
looks angrily up from the plateau below, and 
Mr. N. thinks it wisest to rejoin her. 

Emmeline. O, Mamma, what do you think Papa 
said ? 

Mrs. N. Nothing, my love, which I wish you to 
repeat. Walk on quietly, two and two. 

Mr. N. Too-too-too, dears, like a penny trumpet. 
(Another shout.) 

Mrs. N. This behaviour is more disgraceful, Henry, 
than I could have believed your conduct ever would be. 
Really, this is not a place for you. You must suppose 
that you are in some low tea-garden, among the rabble. 

Mr. N. No, my dear. These are the gardens of 
the Royal Zoological Society, Regent's Park, N.W., 
and I am a fellow, and it's your fault if I am not a jolly 
fellow. It's the most enjoyable place in London, or, 
as you would say, in this extensive metropolis, and I 
came here to enjoy myself, and — deducting conjugali- 
ties — so I do. Go where you like, children, but mind, 
don't put your fingers between the bars of a single den 
— and I say (solemnly), mind this : if one of you 
children gets eaten, I'll never speak to that child again. 
(Loud shout, and away go the young ones.) 

Mrs. N. Catch me coming here again with you. 

Mr. N. I didn't ask you to come. 

108 



"THE NAGGLETONS" 

Mrs. N. No, I am not accusing you of any such 
civility. 

Mr. N. You asked yourself to come, and I wish that 
at the same time you'd asked yourself whether you 
couldn't come in a decent temper. 

Mrs. N. You are the only person, I have often said, 
who ever dared to find fault with my temper. 

Mr. N. Perhaps, as I have often answered, because 
I am the only person on whom you ever dared to 
try it. 

Mrs. N. (smiling.) That speaks well for your dignity 
as the Head of the Family. 

Mr. N. It speaks better, perhaps, for my patience, 
which some day you will try too far. 

Mrs. N. It is so manly to threaten a helpless woman 
who is chained for life. 

Mr. N. If she is, she needn't rattle her chains 
incessantly. But come, it is Sunday, and you have 
been to church, and earned a right to neglect all the 
minor duties, such as kindness and politeness. Won't 
you take a chair ? 

Mrs. N. Not in front, certainly, that all your set, 
Dick, Tom, and Harry, may come up and claim 
acquaintance with one. 

Mr. N. You were glad enough to know my set 
once. 

Mrs. N. You thought so. 

Mr. N. You said so. Excuse me for believing it, 
and two or three other things. 

Mrs. N. Ah ! (A cyclopcedia of iiseful knowledge 
in that little noise.) 

(They take chairs behind the rail, and observe the 
elegant company seated, passing, and repassing.) 

Mr. N. If it wasn't Sunday, I should say " My eye 
what a pretty girl ! " 

Mrs. N. Painted flirt ! 

109 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Mr. N. Lovely hair, come. 

Mrs. N. Bought — I hope paid for. 

Mr. N. She is very hke Lady Annabel Lee whom 
you rave about. 

Mrs. N. I never rave about anybody, and that 
person is as like Lady Annabel as I am like your 
grandmother. 

Mr. N. (brutally.) H'm ! 

Mrs. N. (disdaining to notice such atrocious coarseness.) 
I wonder who that distinguished-looking man is ? 
You never know anybody, so it's no use asking 
you. 

Mr. N. I know in this case. 

Mrs. N. Pardon me if I don't believe it. He is 
evidently somebody. His dress and manner are those 
of the best society. 

Mr. N. How should you know ? 

Mrs. N. I may be unfortunately circumstanced as 
regards my own position, but I have a lady's instinct, 
which never leads me astray in forming a judgment. 

Mr. N. Well, it is right enough this time. 

Mrs. N. Of course it is. Whom do you suppose 
that gentleman to be ? 

Mr. N. I don't suppose about it. (Calls out to the 
Distinguished Somebody, " How are you, Blobby ? ") 
(The Distinguished Somebody looks round, and 
Mrs. Naggleton turns red with shame and 
anger. But the Distinguished Somebody comes 
up to the rail, and shakes hands with Mr. 
Naggleton.) 

D. S. Hawful 'ot, ain't it, my boy ? 

Mr. N. Stunning ! I have the superior honour of 
introducing you to my wife. Mr. Blobbings — Mrs. 
Naggleton. (She shudders a fraction of a bow.) And 
how's tallow ? 

D. S. Sputtery, sputtery. But sink the shop on 

110 



DINES AT "PUNCH" TABLE 

Sunday, my bricksy-wicksy ! Be genteel, my boy, 
if the house is a-fire. Splendid day, M'm. 

Mrs. N. (faintly.) Very fine. Where are those 
children ? 

(Walks off, and is shortly afterwards overtaken 
hy the faithful Mr. Naggleton.) 

That is a fair example of these thirty-three conversa- 
tions, at the close of which Mrs. Naggleton's aunt, 
Henrietta Flaggerty, dies and leaves the unhappy 
couple twenty thousand pounds on condition " that 
they entirely and for ever abandon their habit of 
scolding, snarling, and sneering, and study to converse 
politely, if not affectionately . . . and immediately 
discard the name of Naggleton, and for ever hereafter 
bear the name of — Lovey-Dovey." The conditions 
are accepted, and '' so ends the History of the Naggle- 
tons," the author promising that the public shall one 
day have a peep at the Lovey-Doveys, a promise 
destined never to be fulfilled. 

Despite many statements to the contrary, Shirley 
did not become a member of the Punch staff until 
May, 1852, on the 18th day of which month he dined 
for the first time at the Table, " * the famous board of 
which we all have heard . . . but very few of us seen 
... a rather primitive piece of joinery . . . {pace 
Thackeray's * Mahogany Tree ') . . . but with associa- 
tions which render it a treasure among treasures, a rich 
and priceless gem. For at this table nearly every 
man upon the Staff has, from the day it was made, sat, 
and carved his initials upon it with a penknife, when 

* Spielmann's " History of Punch et passim." 

Ill 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

officially elevated to Punch's peerage. As each has 
died, his successor has taken his place — just as the 
Institut de France creates Immortals to fill the chairs 
made vacant by death — and has cut his initials or his 
mark close by those of the men who occupied the place 
before him. ..." 



112 



CHAPTER VII 




The Punch Table [cont.) — The " Essence of Parhament." 

OR the following picture 
of Shirley at the Punch 
Table I am indebted, as 
for much else, to my 
friend, Mr. Henry Silver. 

" It was," he writes, 
" early in the ' fifties ' 
when I first met Shirley 
Brooks, and for more 
than twenty years I 
had the pleasure of his 
friendship. We dined 
together well nigh weekly at the Punch Table, and 
we used frequently to meet elsewhere, both in and 
out of Clubland. His voice was ever gay and cheerful, 
* an excellentfthing in woman,' and in men not less so — 
especially at dinner-time. And when by any chance 
some * brilliant flash of silence ' had fallen on the 
company, he was generally the first to say a pleasant 
word or two that started a fresh subject. 

" It was in the spring of 1852, while ' Miss Violet ' 
was describing her delightful little * Offers,' that I met 
for the first time the author of her being. Our inter- 
view took place not far from Temple Bar, which 
blocked the end of Fleet Street, and had not yet been 
supplanted by the prancing civic Grifhn. In a dingy 

113 

9— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

little room there, and a copious armchair, sat enthroned 
our massive Editor (Mark Lemon), whose beaming 
smile enlightened the dismal audience chamber. LTpon 
his cheery introduction, Shirley honoured me at sight, 
as a banker does ' good paper,' and we heartily shook 
hands as though for years we had been intimate. 
' You'll pull in the same boat,' said Mark, ' and I hope 
you'll pull together ' ; and then, as I had still some 
youthful modesty left in me, I might fitly have 
invented Douglas Jerrold's famous joke about the 
' very different skulls ' — if it had happily occurred 
to me. 

" There is hanging in my drawing-room, among a 
dozen of delightful pencil drawings by John Tenniel, 
a tiny, upright, full-length figure, which by way of 
emphasis he drew in water colours. This is an 
imaginary portrait of our good friend Mr. Punch, and 
is contained within a circle of two inches and a half in 
diameter. Around the famous little personage, and 
branching from the circle like the fingers of a star-fish, 
are the signatures of those who weekly used to dine 
with him. Underneath the drawing is pencilled the 
inscription, ' Mr. Punch and his Privy Council. Anno 
Domini 1858 ; Anno Punchii XVI 11.' At the head 
of the Table sat the chief proprietor, and then proceed- 
ing in due sequence from his left hand to his right, the 
following were the names and usual places of the 
guests : William Bradbury, Tom Taylor, John Leech, 
John Tenniel, Mark Lemon, Frederick M. Evans, 
Percival Leigh, C. Shirley Brooks, Henry Silver, 
W. M. Thackeray. Such in the later ' fifties ' was 
the usual order of the Table from the death of Douglas 
Jerrold in June, * fifty-seven,' to the coming of Charles 
Keene in February, 1860. 

" Five o'clock tea was not invented in the * fifties.' 
Society had not discovered how duke est tea-sipere in 

114 



THE ''BIG CUT" 

loco — in the place of early dining. So the dinner hour 
was six, and Shirley always was a punctual comer, 
though he worked harder than most of us. But one 
may often notice that the guests who come the latest 
are generally those who have the least to do. Dining 
a la Russe was hardly known in London half-a-century 
ago, and Mr. Punch was an old-fashioned and most 
hospitable host, and, as the phrase went, ' liked to see 
his dinner ' before eating it. So the joints were carved 
at table by those who sat at head and tail of it ; or in 
their absence by the Editor, or some other of the 
guests. Shirley always shirked the labour of the carv- 
ing knife, although he never shrank from the work of 
the " Big Cut." Indeed, the only carving that he did 
at the Punch Table was when he carved his own initials 
on it, as did all the rest of us, clumsy-fingered though 
we were (excepting, indeed, Thackeray, whose wood- 
carving, like his writing, was extremely neat). At 
dinner Shirley far preferred to cut a joke than carve a 
joint, and among the ' good things ' that were served 
or said at table, he had especial relish for good stories 
or hon mots, which he was always ready to relate or 
to invent. 

" I kept a diary in those days, as many scribblers 
do, before they cut their wisdom teeth and learn that 
time is precious stuff and journals precious nonsense. 
Therein I used to chronicle the talk of the Round 
Table, and the names of the good knights who weekly 
sat at meat. I specially recorded, too, the birth of 
the Cartoon, and any special circumstance attending 
that notable event. The honour of the parentage 
might in general be claimed by either Shirley or Tom 
Taylor, but the Editor not seldom was the proud and 
happy father, or else our Hampshire poet and ' Pro- 
fessor,' Percival Leigh. Leech, who in the ' fifties ' 
drew most of the Cartoons, cared little about politics, 

115 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

and his voice was seldom heard in the debate. But he 
would sometimes end it suddenly, by declaring that he 
couldn't * see ' the subject as suggested, and then his 
quick fancy would forthwith invent a better." 

It was, of course, only by gradual degrees that 
Shirley arrived at his recognised position as suggester- 
in-chief, and even then more must not be claimed for 
him than was his due. The suggestion might come 
from him but the final decision rested with Mark Lemon 
and the rest of Mr. Punch's Cabinet Council. True, 
Shirley, immersed in literature, never really quit of his 
reading, " the sayer of good things you thought over," 
provided the literary backbone which was lacking in 
his chief. For Mark Lemon, clever as he was, had not 
the cultured mind, the finer taste, of his lieutenant. 
His were the higher animal spirits, Shirley's the keener 
tongue. He was chiefly the man of the world, Shirley 
chiefly the man of letters. But both were equally 
devoted to the cause of Punch, the qualities of the one 
supplementing in his service the qualities of the other. 
If Mark fully weighed every suggestion made by his 
lieutenant, Shirley as loyally abided by the decision 
of his chief, for whose policy and conduct of the paper 
he had the greatest admiration. This he proved when 
the time came for him to hold the reins in his own 
hands. " No editor," writes Mr. Spielmann, " ever 
laid himself out more carefully to follow in his pre- 
decessor's footsteps. . . . During the Franco-German 
war Shirley Brooks astonished some of his confreres 
by rejecting a cartoon suggested at the weekly dinner, 
because he felt sure that, despite its cleverness, * Uncle 

116 



SUGGESTER-IN-CHIEF 

Mark would not have accepted it ' ; for ' Uncle Mark ' 
was peculiarly sensitive in his respect for religious 
prejudice and sentiment, except when discussing 
Roman Catholicism or Jesuitry. The cartoon in 
question was to have depicted King William writing 
home to his wife one of those pious epistles which gave 
such an air of earnestness to his work : * We have 
victoriously broken through another treaty, by the 
help of God.' Mark Lemon had an exaggerated view 
of the responsibility of his position, and Shirley Brooks 
conducted the paper rigidly on the old lines." 

Indeed, despite obvious differences, there was much 
in common between Mark Lemon and Shirley. As 
Jerrold wrote : " Both were men of the old-fashioned, 
courteous address. In their denials they appeared to 
be conferring a favour. To the humble they were 
gentle ; and they had their reward in the zeal with 
which all people . . . pressed to serve them." 

In speaking of Shirley as the chief suggester of 
cartoons, care, of course, must be taken not to ignore 
the great part played by the artists who carried out 
these suggestions with such conspicuous ability. But 
the cartoonists of this period were not, I believe, very 
strong pohticians. They were great chic artists, who 
loyally devoted their powerful pencils to the pictorial 
expression of the opinions of those who were responsible 
for the conduct of the paper. 

And if Shirley justified his existence at the Punch 
Table by making, and getting adopted, nine out of 
every ten of the suggestions for the " Big Cut," what 
must be said of the part played by him in what has 

117 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

now been for fifty years the backbone of Punch's 
political influence ? "I have seen it stated/' wrote 
Sketchley, " that in an illness of Shirley Brooks, I did 
some of the * Essence of Parliament.' If I had been 
called on to take up the pen of that most brilliant man 
of letters, I should have been in despair." And that 
must, I think, be the feeling of everyone who has taken 
the trouble to peruse these remarkable productions, of 
which Shirley was the inventor, and which he carried 
on during the sittings of Parliament with never-failing 
vigour and brilliancy, for nearly twenty years. In- 
valuable to the historian, they are no less delightful to 
the general reader. 

For this work his training in the Reporters' Gallery 
of the House of Commons proved of inestimable value. 
He knew the men. He knew the measures. He had 
the advantage of a retrospective acquaintanceship with 
the ever-recurring subjects of debate. As a looker-on 
at the game he was like one of the gods of Olympus, 
not only knowing what had happened in the past, but 
able to forecast what was likely to happen in the future. 
In his detachment he could take the larger view of 
things. Like the Deity of Hugo von Trimberg, who 
from high heaven must needs laugh outright to see the 
" wondrous mannikins here below," he, in the remote- 
ness of the Gallery, above the storms and passions 
disturbing men's minds, could impartially consider the 
advances and retreats of the mannikins on the floor, 
and distil the essence of their talk in the alembic of his 
wit. It is here that we find Shirley Brooks, the writer, 
at his best. Here he could give freest rein to his 

118 



"ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT" 

convictions and fancies. Now he is weighty, now 
trivial ; now severely matter-of-fact, the next moment 
subtle and allusive ; approving here, sarcastic there ; 
soothing this one's ruffled temper, thrusting his rapier 
shrewdly into that one's self-complacency ; with a 
laugh excusing an honest man's stumble, with a gibe 
minimising a dishonest man's triumph. 

And how well he was seconded as time went on by 
the pencils of (Sir) John Tenniel, Charles Bennett, and 
Mr. Linley Sambourne, whose wonderful initial letters, 
sometimes expanding themselves over half the page, 
caught the very spirit of his writing, and were in their 
very excellence another proof of the inspiring influence 
of his pen ! " Miracles of invention, of fancy, and of 
allusion, swarming with figures, overflowing with 
suggestion, teeming with subtle symbolism," as Mr. 
Spielmann has said, they are the highest testimonial, 
the sincerest form of flattery for which a man could 
hunger.* 

The first instalment of " The Essence " opened the 
twenty-eighth volume of Punch thus : — 

"Tuesday, Dec. 12th (1854). ParHament met. 
Her Majesty delivered very gracefully a speech which 
Lord Aberdeen had written very ungrammatically." 
It concluded : " Various legislative formalities having 
been transacted in both Houses, the Parliamentary 
nuisance was abated till the 23rd January." 

Those two sentences at once struck the notes of 
loyalty to the gracious Lady on the Throne, of 

* Some of these have been, by the kindness of Messrs. Bradbury 
and Agnew, allowed to adorn these pages. 

119 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

independent and humorous criticism of the great, 
and of a sort of lofty detachment, which were to 
characterise the series from beginning to end. 

In the very next instalment I find with some elation 
that " La YARD gave it to ministers right and left," 
and that " it would be egotism in Mr. Punch did he 
applaud sentiments which Mr. Layard must have 
studied in their best form in the pages of his immortal 
work, but Mr. Punch has no objection to say that the 
earnest eloquence of the member for Nineveh did 
justice to his theme." 

Fortunately, my distinguished kinsman was a great 
favourite with Punch, who admired his independence, 
and recognised in him one of the few politicians to 
whom office was the last consideration. Indeed, so 
impressed was he with his straightforwardness and 
untiring energy that a full-page cartoon was soon 
afterwards devoted to " The Member for Nineveh 
digging out the British Bull " from the slough, into 
which years of routine, jobbery, patronage, incom- 
petency, muddle and red-tape had plunged him. And 
when, a few weeks later, the impetuous young man 
chanced to make a slip on a point of fact in his eager 
zeal to strip the mask from jobbery, and all the wolves, 
jackals and poodle-dogs of State were yelping at his 
heels. Punch came to the rescue with the fine cartoon, 
" Baiting the Nineveh Bull " :— 

" Ended the match was, though never a scratch was 
To see on the bull at the close of the fray : 
Cads with huzzaing spent, curs hoarse with baying, went 
Clubwards and kennelwards, glorious, away. 
120 



''ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT" 

But, though their pack. Sir, the Commons may back. Sir, 
Though of his clap-traps and jokes Pam be full, 
Public opinion asserts its dominion, 

Giving its voice for the Nineveh Bull." 

I mention this in which I am naturally interested, 
because here we have a typical example of Punch's 
independence, and further, what is directly germane 
to our subject, one of the earliest examples of the in- 
fluence which Shirley, the latest recruit, was exercising 
on Punch's councils. He sows the seed in " The Essence 
of Parliament," and almost immediately it blossoms 
out into the highest pictorial compliment which can 
be paid in this country to an unofficial Member of 
Parliament. And so his influence continued to make 
itself felt through these delightful contributions, until 
in the last year of his life he wrote, with some weariness 
yet with not unnatural self-congratulation : — 

" Again began ' Essence of Parliament.' Flow this 
has lasted, and everybody tells me it is a most valuable 
feature in P. It is often a great bore, but not always." 

It is impossible in this place to make more than 
passing allusion to what was neither more nor less 
than a complete history of Parliament, as set down 
week by week for twenty years by a man exceptionally 
equipped for his task, ideally situated for its perform- 
ance, and abundantly familiar with the customs, 
procedure and idiosyncrasies of his subject. 

" They were sad times for Merry England when the 
' Essence ' was begun," writes Mr. Silver to me. 
" Holy Russia had cried ' Havoc ' and let slip the dogs 
of war, and the British Bull-dog had been making a bad 
start. Someone had blundered as someone always 

121 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

will, and the nation's wrath was kindled against an 
ill-starred Government. Aided by the Times, Mr. 
Punch attacked the Ministry, and not many weeks 
elapsed before ' the People's Premier ' succeeded to the 
place of * Antiquated Imbecility/ as ' Pam ' with tender 
flattery had called Lord Aberdeen. 

" Tempora mutantur. Both the Times and Punch 
are somewhat changed since then, and possibly their 
influence is now less strongly felt. In these hurry- 
scurry days people seldom stop to think. They prefer 
light, trivial chatter to words of gravity or weight. 
Whatever ' views ' they chance to have upon a subject 
are mostly mere ' snapshots.' Wise in his generation, 
Mr. Punch goes with the times, and his wisdom is 
well-known to be unfailing, like his wit. In his 
' Essence ' now he pays less heed to the speeches than 
the speakers. What they say is noticed not so much 
as what they wear and how they look. There is 
indeed less record of the matter than the manner of 
debate. But though its style may have been altered, 
the ' Essence ' still exists. It has been yearly carried 
on for more than half-a-century, and may well survive 
for a century or two further ; unless indeed the 
Heptarchy return, by a decree of Little Englanders 
(haply born in civic Little Britain), when the British 
Parliament may be proclaimed to be extinct. 

" Readers often fancy it is quite easy to be writers : 
and it may seem a little matter to condense a lot of 
talk. But to write the ' Essence ' in the style that 
Shirley started was not so light a labour as may be 
supposed. Crede experto. At times I was his deputy, 
and found it was by no means an enviable post.* To 

* The following quotation from an unpublished letter written 
by Shirley to Percival Leigh in Aug., 1860, refers to one of these 
occasions. " Argentum " was one of Mr. Silver's nicknames. 

" About the * Essence,' I assure you that no such idea as you 

122 



"ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT" 

stew down half-a-score or more of pages in the Times 
and serve them up with jest-sauce in a single page of 
Punch ; to give by way of garnish a hon mot from the 
Lobby ; to report with due veracity (and perhaps 
curtailed verbosity) a sentence worth recording ; and 
to add some apt quotations to enliven dull debates ; 
all this was Shirley's work when Parliament was 
sitting, and it was done so cheerily and with such 
surprising skill, that few readers could be conscious 
of the labour it had cost him, or the cleverness it 
required. 

" In these days of ' snappy pars,' of semi- Yankee 
' journalese,' Shirley's pure, well-chosen English may 
seem rather out of date. But I think it may be fairly 
cited as a model of good writing for the Press. Though 
chiefly done at a hand-gallop, it showed no sign of 
haste. There was neither faulty grammar, nor 
slovenly neglect of style. Plain simple words were 
chosen to express clear, earnest thoughts ; and a screen 
of showy adjectives was never used to hide a want of 
sterling knowledge, or of sound substantial sense." 

That is interesting as the opinion of one who was, 
as little more than a boy, writing for Punch ere ever 
Shirley Brooks had stormed the position, and who 
now, perhaps with natural prejudice in favour of the 
past, surveys the arena of his early triumphs without 
intolerance and with the wisdom that comes of ripe 
experience. 

allude to ever entered this child's head. Moreover, there was a 
special reason why Argentum should do it, namely, that he is 
remunerated by the work, not by salary, and one is only too glad 
to throw anything to so good a fellow. Besides, when did I ever 
misunderstand you ? " 

123 




CHAPTER VIII 

1852-1854 — " A Story with a Vengeance — " Aspen Court " — 
Bentley's Miscellany — Marriage with Miss Emily Walkinshaw — 
Clubs — Birth of his Sons and their Fate. 

ORTUNE was now smiling upon 
Shirley. His income derived 
from the Morning Chronicle, 
the Illustrated London News, 
the Era, and Punch, to men- 
tion the important few of the 
many irons which he now had 
in the fire, was assuming con- 
siderable dimensions, and his 
reputation in the world of 
letters was proportionately increasing. His serial in 
Punch, " Miss Violet and her Offers," of which the 
authorship was not long a secret, suggested at least 
to one prominent publisher that here was possibly a 
valuable recruit to the ranks of novelists, not so over- 
crowded a regiment then as it is at this present writing. 
Up to the year 1852 Shirley's name had but once 
been publicly identified with anything in the shape of 
fiction, and then only with the unimportant " Story 
with a Vengeance," in which he had been associated 
with his friend Angus Reach. Of so little account, 
indeed, is this volume, that it would call for no further 
mention were it not that, by a curious chance I have 

124 



"A STORY WITH A VENGEANCE" 

discovered at what rate the young authors were paid 
for a work of imagination running to a hundred and 
twenty-six pretty closely printed pages, and in the 
event found worthy of several new editions. Turning 
over the pages of a presentation copy of Shirley's first 
three-volumed novel, kindly lent me by Mr. Downing, 
the well-known Birmingham bookseller, I found pasted 
inside the cover of the third volume the following in 
Shirley's handwriting addressed to Horace Mayhew : — 

" Horatius Flaccus 
(The lover of Bacchus, 
And maker of mots, often dirty), 
The £ — s. and d. 
Paid to Angus and me 
Was pounds to the number of Thirty. 

:ic )|c :|c 3): :)( % 

That is, you know, £15 each, but this was considered 
a high price (which I will be hanged if it was), and 
given for a reason disconnected with the vast merits 
of the work. I don't know that the matter is anything 
which is desired to be secret, but still perhaps you will 
be good enough to keep the information as a guide to 
yourself, and not to mention it at Ingram's, as we may 
have other transactions there, and publishers like 
mystery — Verbum Sat. 

" Semper tuns 

" S. B. of Egypt." 

At first sight this would seem to have no necessary 
connection with " A Story with a Vengeance," which 
has no publisher's name on the title-page of the first 
edition, and is merely described as " published at 227 
Strand." When, however, we remember that that was 

125 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

the publishing address of Ingram, Cooke & Co., and 
that this was the only book collaborated in by Shirley 
and Angus, the train of reasoning is complete, and 
we feel for the moment the true triumph of the biblio- 
maniac. Nor do we only thus learn chancewise the 
kind of prices that Shirley was receiving in his thirty- 
seventh year, but also that he considered the price 
very inadequate, as indeed it would appear to be. 

But the young author must at first take what he 
can get, and possess his soul in patience for the time 
when he has gained reputation enough to speak with 
his enemy, the publisher, in the gate, and Shirley's 
moment of triumph was not long in coming. Before 
the year was out one of the greatest of editor-publishers 
was knocking at his door. 

Bentley's Miscellany was now in the heyday of its 
great career, and Richard Bentley was on the look-out 
for a likely serial writer. " Miss Violet and her Offers " 
was attracting much attention in the pages of Pimch, 
and Bentley knew what was good when he saw it. 
Its authorship leaked out, and the publisher made 
a flattering offer to the newest of Punch's recruits. 
So it came about that Shirley Brooks made his bow 
as a serious novelist in the pages of the great Miscellany 
which had built up its reputation on the names of 
Charles Dickens, William Harrison Ainsworth, and 
others of the mid- Victorian brotherhood. 

Dedicated to Charles Dickens when eventually it 
was published in book form, " Aspen Court " is not 
without signs of the Master's influence. Written for 
serial issue, it has the weaknesses that of necessity 

126 



AS NOVELIST 

appertain to that method of publication. It suffers 
from the spasms, a distressing disease not so much 
because of its violent nature as because of the inevitable 
periodicity of the attacks. Life has to unfold itself 
in twenty passionate acts. An interval of so many 
pages and the thrill is imperative. The thunder-clap 
comes just when you most expect it. There is plenty 
of story, plenty of incident, plenty of observation, 
plenty about the characters. But the observation is 
observation in snippets^ and the characters never 
develop. Now and then a good scene presents itself ; 
the conversation proceeds leisurely and effectively. It 
even works up to a legitimate thrill ; but the time is not 
yet ; it is allowed to flicker out because the reader 
must be kept in suspense lest he should not buy the 
next number. And yet there is abundant evidence 
that Shirley had it in him to write a good novel. 

The fault, of course, was with the system. The 
publisher required the writer to work with one eye on 
the clock. And, like the clock, his work must always 
strike at the hour. That no doubt was necessary to 
the production of a good serial. It was fatal to the 
production of a good novel. And as we read " Aspen 
Court " now we scarcely care who wins or who loses. 
Further, I doubt very much whether Shirley himself 
ever took the fate of the characters in his novels very 
seriously. Indeed, Mr. Silver has record of a con- 
versation between him and Horace Mayhew which 
points directly to the contrary : — 

" Once," said Shirley, " I began a tale of mystery 
for a monthly magazine and made ' on horror's head 

127 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

horrors accumulate.' At the close of the fifth chapter, 
things came to a dead lock. (No, Horace, it had not 
a skeleton key.) And things grew so mysterious that 
I could make neither head nor tail (tale) of them. So 
I stopped suddenly and wrote ' To be continued in our 
next.' But I never found the courage to complete it." 

There are no doubt some adventitious interests 
attaching to " Aspen Court." We have seen Shirley 
in " The Gordian Knot " enshrining the portrait of his 
uncle, Charles Sabine. So, here, the London magistrate 
is a portrait of his friend Gilbert Abbott a Beckett. 

Again on page 116, Vol. I, we find mention of 
certain " fast " young ladies " who have had staircase 
flirtations . . . have taken a good deal of champagne, 
and have had ' letters left at the pastry cook's,' " 
the last words referring, of course, to Horace 
Mayhew's still readable papers which appeared 
under that title in Punch. And there are other ex- 
trinsic matters which amuse us who have made 
ourselves familiar with literary affairs of the period. 
But, as a novel, its day is over. Popular enough to 
be republished as late as 1868, it can now have no 
further hope of resurrection. 

And what is true of " Aspen Court " equally applies, 
as we shall see, with one exception, to the novels that 
came after, notwithstanding the weighty dictum of 
the " Encyclopaedia Britannica " that " they possess 
qualities which will save them from swift oblivion." 
Which, by the way, is just the sort of prophesy an 
encyclopaedia ought not to make. It necessitates 
reconsideration and a new edition so quickly ! 

128 



MARRIAGE 

This new departure was a matter of considerable 
importance in Shirley's career. Hitherto his name had 
been only one to conjure with in editors' offices and in 
purely literary circles. Now it was to become familiar 
to the reading public. Hitherto he had been paid 
the price per line or per thousand that his work was 
worth in the market. Henceforth something extra 
would have to be paid for the use of his name. 

And this was not the only result of his access of 
fame and fortune. He was now thirty-eight years of 
age, and he was for the first time in a position to marry. 
A Spanish proverb tells us that a bachelor is a peacock ; 
betrothed he is a lion ; wedded he is an ass. If this 
be true then we must date Shirley's metempsychosis 
from the bird of gay plumage to the King of the Forest 
on June 1st, 1853, for on that day he proposed for 
the hand of Miss Emily Margaret Walkinshaw, and was 
accepted. She was the daughter of Dr. William 
Bannatyne Walkinshaw, of Naparima, Trinidad. 
Brunette to her sister's blonde, the two pretty girls 
were known in art circles as " Night " and " Morning," 
and had so been painted by Carl Schiller. 

Shirley through life was frankly susceptible to the 
charms of a pretty face, and had to pay the price of 
his susceptibility. Not that his marriage proved 
other than satisfactory, as marriages go, but it was 
scarcely the ideal union. There was little of that 
intellectual sympathy which increases with age. To 
Mrs. Brooks her husband's work, after the first blush 
of the thing had worn off, was just a money-making 
affair, and so far of importance. But in its wider 

129 

10— (3297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

aspect it made little or no appeal to her, save where 
it brought in its train free tickets for the theatre- 
going which was her passion, and those social 
invitations which choke the letter-box of the literary 
celebrity. 

Twenty years later, I find him writing rather bitterly 
in his diary : — 

" E. described literature as a ' rotten stick/ . . . 
We have not found it so rotten, I think, yet. Nor will 
it be, while my health endures, please God. And that 
failing, any vocation would be rotten, unless it had 
enabled one to save." 

That is the protest of the man of letters against a 
slight passed upon what, in his eyes, was something 
more than a trade — something the value of which 
was not merely to be gauged by pounds, shillings, and 
pence. I do not wish to lay too much stress upon 
this, nor to put all the blame on Mrs. Brooks's shoulders 
for the lack of spontaneous sympathy which marked 
their married life. I say " spontaneous sympathy," 
for Shirley was instant, as we shall see, in trying to 
invent a workable substitute. 

It may be, too, that Shirley early aroused in his 
wife the jealousy which is so easily excited in some 
gentle breasts, and kills the seed of true sympathy 
which should grow and grow until it becomes the very 
flower of life. Indeed, he once confessed to Mr. Silver 
that soon after the honeymoon his wife scolded him 
for peeping into pretty bonnets, while he walked with 
her, and that he only a little pacified her by the 
suddenly invented excuse — " My dear, I was only 

130 



MRS. SHIRLEY BROOKS 

looking to see if I could find a prettier face than yours, 
and I really cannot." 

One day somebody was chaffing Mrs. Brooks on this 
score, when she exclaimed, " Shirley, O Shirley ! 
I would trust him in a nunnery " ; but that may have 
meant anything. A good many women simulate 
indifference when touched on the raw. 

Mrs. Brooks, though technically a Creole, was Irish, 
and very proud of the fact. She also had the super- 
stitions of her race. Mrs. Panton tells me that the 
Christmas before she died — she survived her husband 
for six years — she dined with Mr. and Mrs. Frith. 
There were thirteen at table, and no " Man from 
Blankley's ! " Mrs. Frith got up first, saying, " I will 
be the first, because I can best be spared." Im- 
mediately up jumped " Shirlina," as Mrs. Brooks was 
nicknamed in their circle, crying, " Well, I'll be the 
second, for if you died, dear Mrs. Frith, I shouldn't 
want to live." A month later Mrs. Frith was dead, 
and five months later Mrs. Brooks ! 

Shirley was sixteen years older than his wife, and 
seems to have expressed the position before their 
marriage in " Horace for the Ladies " : — 

" O Lilian dear, you're just eighteen, 
And I am nearly forty-three : 
But that's no reason, little queen, 
That you should seem so shy of me. 

" Whene'er I come you run away, 
Just like a timid, foolish fawn ; 
Rush to the instrument to play. 
Or join the children on the lawn. 

131 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" I'm not a tiger, fawn, you know. 
Although a Lion in saloons ; 
Why run from me with such a show 
Of love for brats, and birds, and tunes ? 

" Come : add eighteen to forty-three. 
That's only sixty-one between us ; 
My wife I've vowed that you shall be, 
So take this ring, my little Venus." 

Later on he found that sympathetic intelligence 

was lacking, and Moliere tells us that 

..." I'age ne sert de guere, 
Quand on n'a pas cela." 

That no doubt drove him in the early years of his 
married life to the clubs, which he loved, and that made 
him not so disconsolate a grass-widower as he might 
have been, when he had his house to himself, and 
London all round it. For Shirley was as essentially 
a London man as was Dr. Johnson. On the rare 
occasions when, on strong compulsion, he accompanied 
his wife and sons on holiday trips, he would soon grow 
restless and chafe until he could get back to his own 
house in Regent's Park, to his morning papers, his 
voluminous correspondence, his own armchair and his 
familiar books — all set in his own methodical way 
and not to be touched by strange hands on any account. 
Then he was happy. He had the house to himself for 
his work, and, what was more, he was within reach of 
his beloved Fleet Street, the '' Bedford " (his favourite 
hotel under the piazzas of Covent Garden), and the 
" Garrick," '' Fielding," or " Our " Clubs. Thither he 
would walk, happier in the movement of the streets 
than in the loveliest of Nature's unspoiled scenery, eager 

132 



AS FATHER 

for a plain dinner, a glass of punch and a good chat with 
Mark Lemon and other of his Bohemian friends. 

In October, 1854, Mrs. Brooks presented her husband 
with the first of their two sons, and Shirley accepted 
his paternal responsibiUties with due seriousness. As 
Mr. Frith writes of him when his sons were growing up, 
" If ever father ' garnered up hopes ' in his children, 
Shirley Brooks was the man." He held advanced 
ideas on the subject of education, and determined 
that they should have of the very best. With this 
idea he took an active interest in the formation of the 
now defunct " International College " at Isleworth, 
investing and losing in the scheme a considerable sum 
of money. That was to be the starting point, and 
from thence the boys were to go to Germany, then to 
France, and so get a non-insular all-round education. 

In the case of his eldest son, Reginald, this scheme 
was adhered to, with what seemed at first good results, 
for the boy showed brilliant promise. Later on he 
entered Owens College, Manchester, and Shirley wrote 
in his diary : — 

" God bless him, may this be the crowning of his 
education, which we may say we have spared nothing 
to make effective." 

But the promise of a brilliant and distinguished 
career was not to be fulfilled. Fortunately for Shirley 
he did not live to receive the blow which would have 
fallen upon him with staggering effect. 

For six years after his death, and so long as Mrs. 
Brooks lived, things went well enough with the boy. 
In 1880 he was doing some work for Punch. " The 

133 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

following year," writes Mr. Spielmann, " he was called 
to the Table, and remained there without much 
distinction until 1884. He wrote some smart papers, 
but his groove was not that of the sober and respectable 
Fleet Street sage. He preferred wilder spirits and 
accordingly retired." 

Then he blossomed into " Blobbs " of the Sporting 
Times, and his fate was sealed. Those were the days 
when certain " smart " drinking bars in London stood 
free to that poisonous group of dissipated flaneurs 
who posed as the latest expression of sporting journal- 
ism, and simulated every vice which they did not 
practise. " About this time," writes one of his ac- 
quaintances, " he fell madly in love with a well-known 
actress, who is now a peeress, and tried to shoot him- 
self, but failing, was not too overcome to give a 
laughable account of it to his friends ! " That is, in 
little, the record of a wasted life. The end was certain, 
and, like many another of his colleagues, he went 
under and died. 

The history of the younger boy was no less tragic, 
and the only satisfaction in the whole wretched business 
was that the passionately devoted father did not live 
long enough to see his fondest hopes dashed to the 
ground. What might have been their fate, had their 
father lived, who can say ? Possibly we might have 
been spared the spectacle of two more failures. But 
they went out into the world to learn by experience. 
The teacher's school-fees proved too heavy, and there 
was no one by to help them pay. 



134 



CHAPTER IX 



1853-1856 — The Crimea — " Dagon " — Percival Leigh — Horace 
Mayhew — " The Gordian Knot " — Generous Help from Messrs. 
Bradbury & Evans— Story of Spurgeon — " Poem by a Perfectly 
Furious Academician " — The Deceased Wife's Sister — An 
Armed Passage with Richard Bentley — Mr. W. P. Frith — 
" Cottle." 



N the last chapter I have, with 
the object of clearing the ground 
for the consecutive narrative, 
somewhat anticipated events. 
The story shall henceforward be 
allowed to unfold itself step by 
step, and as far as possible by 
means of letters and diaries. 

Shirley had now a wife, and 
ways and means had to be 
considered. He had a good 
many irons in the fire, but it was Punch who was 
gradually coming to be his principal paymaster. At 
first he received the usual outsider's fee of a guinea a 
column. Now, towards the close of 1853, he was 
promoted, as a member of the staff, to five guineas 
a week. 

A letter of this period to one of the proprietors 
suggests that his domestic responsibilities may have 
been for the moment a little too much for his purse. 

135 




SHIRLEY BROOKS 

S. B. TO F. M. Evans. 

" 12 New Inn, 

" Oct. 3rd, 1853. 

" My dear Evans, 

** Will you have the kindness to perpetrate in my 
favour one of those deeds which you last committed for 
me between three and four months ago, videlicet, the 
drawing a cheque for twenty pounds for me. I need 
not add that I make the request with the sanction and 
I may add under the distinguished patronage of 
St. Mark of the Lemons. 

" Believe me, my dear Evans, 

** Yours ever faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

This letter, it will be noticed, is addressed from 
12 New Inn, where he had chambers for the first few 
years of his life as a Benedict. By 1860 he and his wife 
were living at 22 Brompton Square, and in 1861 were 
installed in their final home at 6 Kent Terrace^ Regent's 
Park. 

The following letter is eloquent of the general 
condemnation of the conduct of Ministers and the 
incapacity of our commanders in the Crimea. The 
Emperor Nicholas was at this time Punch's chief 
bugbear, but " General Fevrier " was soon to turn 
traitor and to give Leech the opportunity of rising to 
the highest pitch of imagination, though by no means 
the highest pitch of artistic excellence, to which he 
ever attained. 

" Received by most with wild enthusiasm," says 
Mr. Spielmann, " by others with condemnation as a 

136 



" DAGON " 

cruel use of a cruel fate, it (the cartoon) none the less 
electrified the country." That is true, but I am 
inclined to think that the minority were the sober- 
minded ones, and that they were more in accord with 
the spirit of Shirley's verses, entitled " Dagon," which 
appeared in the same issue. Here is the first stanza : — 

" DAGON." 

" Smitten — as by lightning — smitten 

Down amid his armed array ; 
With the liery scroll scarce written 

Bidding myriads to the fray ; 
There — but yesterday defying 

Europe's banners, linked and flying 
For her freedom — see him lying — 

Earth's Colossus — earth's own clay. 
But no triumph-shout be given, 
Knee to earth and eye to heaven ! 

God hath judged the day." 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" 12 New Inn, 

" New Year's Eve, 1854, 
" 11 a.m. 

" My dear Professor, 

'* ' A few gents meeting at Clunn's ' last night 
remembered you ' in their cups ' (elegant for brandy- 
anwar), and some of them swore to write and wish you 
a happy new year. Then some of them went to the 
pit of the Opimlic* theatre, and lost one another. 
Whether the vow will be remembered in more quarters 
than one will be seen, but here is my discharge thereof. 
I hope that you have been, are, and will be exceeding 
jolly, and that, when the revel is ended, we shall see 
you renewed like an eagle, the sun, a giant (or any 

♦ Another of Shirley's dreadful inversions. 

137 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

other Oriental simile) to wop Nicholas, etc., etc. Now 
I do earnestly wish you a very happy new year, my 
dear Professor. 

** Of course there is nothing else to say. I never 
in all my long, useless and evil life knew society so 
hideously dull. Nobody never tells you nothing, 
except anecdotes illustrative of the neglect of the 
Government about the Army. It is rumoured that 
positive orders have been sent to Lord Raggy to dash 
at Sebastopol coiite que coute, but I don't believe it, 
though I do not think, if he did, people would be 
displeased. But we are like a man who has had rude 
health all his life, and suddenly feels illness, and bears 
it abominably — forty years' peace has made us bad 
war patients. 

** A spangled officer told us the other day that in the 
Army they call the Crimea * Aberdeen's General 
Cemetery.' 

"... We were to have had white soup on Wednes- 
day last, and didn't. Pater Evans not remembering to 
order it. For the which the judgment of Heaven hath 
speedily descended upon him, his landlord having 
given him offensive notice to quit. Such are the 
consequences of crime, beware thereof. 

Is Scamp* with you ? If so give him a bone for me. 
" I am, my dear fellow, 

" Ever yours, 
" Shirley Brooks." 

The next letter in order of date I find pasted into 
a copy of " Aspen Court," which Shirley presented 
later on in this year to Horace Mayhew. But why 
'' Ponny," who was no artist, should be called upon to 
sign the Art Union Plate is to me an insoluble mystery. 

* Leigh's dog. 

138 



" PONNY " 
S. B. TO Horace Mayhew. 

{Date on post-mark, April 25th, 1855.) 

" Thursday, 

" Venerated Man, 

" Three minutes after sight take' a piece of paper — 
a strip (I should say) not more than an inch-and-a-half 
wide and six inches long. 

" Have you done that ? 

** Very well. 

" Then write lengthways (the way you always write 
your notes, by the way, and a heathenish way it is) 
any words with which genius may inspire you to the 
effect that you give me — what ? 

" What ? Why, the Beautiful Plate of the Art 
Union to be sure. I saw it at the office just now, 
and bought it in a phrenzy, have kicked a church out 
of a frame to make room for it, and it hangs already 
over my chimbley. But I like an autograph to 
complete it. Send it us, that's a good fellow, and I 
will go and applaud your pantomime at the Olympic 
again, and also your opera at the Albert Saloon, 
besides reading your contributions to the Family 
Herald. 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks. 

" Horace Mayhew, Esq." 

Two days later he wrote thanking Mr. Evans for 
further advances. " The book " referred to is, of 
course, " Aspen Court," which had been running 
serially and was now being revised for publication in 
volume form. 

139 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 
S. B. TO F. M. Evans. 

" April 21th, 1855. 

" My dear Evans, 

" Thanks — many of them. I feel Hke a post- 
mortem capitahst. 

" From to-morrow morning until the book is in the 
printer's hands I shut myself up working thereat. 
Should you see Bentley, this assurance will probably 
satisfy him. I shall look at nothing till the work is out. 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks. 
" F. M. Evans, Esq." 

The next letter, which as a matter of fact was never 
sent, is eloquent of Shirley's growing confidence in his 
position as a writer and of his intention to assert his 
independence. Fortunately perhaps, he submitted 
it to " Pater " Evans, who counselled a less bellicose 
tone. Otherwise it is not improbable that " The 
Gordian Knot," his next novel, would have had to seek 
another publisher. 

S. B. to Richard Bentley. 

" 12 New Inn, 

"Aug. 5th, 1855. 
" My dear Sir, 

" I am favoured with your note of the 3rd and 
immediately reply, although your misconception of 
the idea I had, as to bringing out a new book, seems to 
render it improbable that our communication will 
result in business. I made no ** proposal," but I 
intimated to our common friend, Mr. Evans, that if 
certain terms could be arranged, I should prefer my 
next novel to proceed from your house to bringing 
it out "elsewhere" — meaning a quarter whence 

140 



A BREEZE WITH BENTLEY 

a proposal — one among several — has been made 
to me. 

" You propose that I should write the book, and, 
* when complete,' let you ' see it ' that you ' may 
take it into consideration/ 

" Our two views of my position as an author are so 
essentially diverse, that it is scarcely worth while to 
remark upon your proposing to me exactly what you 
would, properly, propose to a writer who had never 
published a line, and who came to request you to 
bring out his first book. 

" I may, therefore, I presume, receive your note as 
one which disposes of the consideration that induced 
me to desire that the house which had brought out 
my first novel, with, I understand, so much financial 
success, and with, I read, so much general approbation, 
should produce the next. 

" With best regards, believe me, 
" My dear Sir, 

" Yours very truly, 

"Shirley Brooks." 

S. B. TO F. M. Evans. 

" 12 New Inn, 

" Saturday night. 

" My dear Pater, 

" I have had the enclosed from Bentley. It is 
either a bit of his habitual ignorance, or else imper- 
tinence — it don't much matter which. I have written 
a reply which I should like you to read, and either 
forward, or suppress it, as you may think most proper. 
I shall be away till Wednesday, but up to meet you at 
Thackeray's. - Ever yours faithfully, 

"S. B." 
Eventually Shirley's ruffled feelings were smoothed 
down, and he undertook a second serial for Bentley. 

141 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

In this, as events proved, he was undertaking more 
than he could easily perforin. Engaged as he was 
at that time in ever-increasing newspaper work of an 
arduous nature, he, in his own rather turgid words, 
" under-estimated the difficulty of suddenly turning 
from the exciting duties and pleasures of journalism 
to the lines upon which a writer who aspires to be an 
artist lays down a work of extended character." And 
as time went on he found it harder and harder to turn 
from active and polemic press -work to the spinning 
of a consecutive and sustained work of fiction. On 
the top of it all came domestic trouble, with the result 
that a considerable interval elapsed between two of the 
instalments into which the tale was necessarily divided. 
This naturally disturbed Mr. Bentley, who threatened 
legal proceedings. Fortunately Charles Dickens came 
to the rescue, and the threat was not carried into 
execution. Eventually " The Gordian Knot " got 
finished. But the twelve numbers spread themselves 
over twice as many months, to the annoyance of an 
expectant public and the detriment of the sales of the 
magazine. When, however, it had received careful 
revision and appeared in book form in 1860 it obtained 
considerable success, and was held worthy of dedication 
to his beloved chief and his wife, friends for whom he 
always retained the deepest regard. 

To Mark and Helen Lemon. 

" My dear Friends, 

" I have strong claims to the right of inscribing 
this book with your names. Years back, a pleasant 
and valuable literary connexion with one of you 

142 



"THE GORDIAN KNOT" 

originated a cordial friendship with both ; and, if I am 
happy to say that I see no prospect of a termination 
of the first, I am still happier to believe in the 
impossibility of an interruption of the second. 

" Then, if I add that a large, and to me the most 
agreeable portion of this volume, was composed in the 
quiet and delightful Sussex retreat which you have 
chosen, and while I was enjoying the kindest hospital- 
ities of your household, I think that I have made out 
my claim to sign myself, in this public manner, 

" Your obliged and attached Friend, 

'' Shirley Brooks. 

" The Temple." 

The book owed much of its success to the 
illustrations by John Tenniel, and the Illustrated 
London News paid the great Punch artist the very 
unusual compliment of specially engraving on wood 
one of the etched designs for the purpose of illustrating 
their review of the volumes. Apparently, too, they 
found much to admire in Shirley's share of the work, 
for they wrote, ** We would strongly recommend 
Mr. Brooks as a model to many of the literary aspirants 
of the day who are either infected with Carlyle or 
Ruskinism." But this after all may have been merely 
the hyperbole of log-rolling on behalf of one of their 
own regular contributors. 

About this time Spurgeon had come up to London, 
and Exeter Hall was bursting with his immense 
audiences. Stories, true and apocryphal, were rife. 
Here is one which Shirley had picked up and dispatched 
to Percival Leigh. 

** I requite your story with another, but I regret to 

143 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

say a harmless one. Spurgeon was travelling in a 
railway carriage. Ladies therein. To them he did not 
speak. But at last, coming through Kelvedon, he 
pointed at it, and said with a fat smile, ' There the 
celebrated Spurgeon was born.' Instantly answered 
him a wiry, blue-stocking sort of woman, who had 
recognized him, ' Had Paul been travelling on the 
railway passing through Tarsus, he would have said 
" There the chief of sinners was born." ' The Baptist 
was shut up, as now shall be this letter, for I am 
summoned to a roast ' fessant.' " 

Punch laughed good-humouredly at the young 
evangelist's glowing periods and hell-fire threatenings, 
and " calculated that on an average the reverend 
teacher uses in every sermon no less than three tons of 
coal, and all red-hot." But Spurgeon had a good sense 
of humour too, and is said to have treasured up all the 
cartoons and caricatures that sought to turn him into 
ridicule. 

Pmich got a good deal of fun out of the " Pre- 
Raphaelite " movement, and Shirley in 1856 contri- 
buted to the controversy the celebrated " Poem by 
a perfectly furious Academician," which is always 
worth repeating. 

" I takes and paints, 
Hears no complaints, 

And sells before I'm dry ; 
Till savage Ruskin 
He sticks his tusk in, 

Then nobody will buy. 

" N.B. — Confound Ruskin — only that will not come into the 
poetry — but it's true." 

144 



DECEASED WIFE'S SISTER 

This same year he plumped for " The Deceased 
Wife's Sister's BiU," which the Commons had passed 
but to which the Lords were hostile : — 

" You wrote my letters, you paid my bills, 

And took receipts (which you never lost), 
I smoked, you twisted the nicest spills. 

And you always knew what the coals had cost. 
You saw that my slippers were near my chair, 

You saw that my study fire would draw, 
And you did it all with a cheerful air, 

(Not that of a Martyr), my Sister-in-law." 

The reasons it must be admitted were of the flimsiest, 
but to the average man, who was not a theologian, 
they seemed sufficient. Fifteen years later when he 
was reading Miss Muloch's book written to the same 
end he entered in his diary : — 

" Finished ' Hannah.' It is a pretty sermon to 
inculcate the propriety of taking your wife's sister 
abroad, marrying her there, and settling there till the 
law be altered." 

Shirley was now hard at work on his novel, " The 
Gordian Knot," but novels have an awkward way of 
not getting paid for until the manuscript is in the hands 
of the publisher. And Shirley's late passage with 
Bentley made it difficult to go down on his knees for 
an advance from that quarter. For his own and his 
wife's current needs his income was fully sufficient, 
but he had outrun the constable in setting up his 
household gods, and there were other unexpected 
calls crowding in upon him. His father was old, ill, 
and past his work, and his sister, who had been long 

145 

II— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

ailing, was now too ill to be left alone. Shirley was 
the only member of the family in a position to help, 
and again he was forced to throw himself on the mercy 
of the ever-generous proprietors of Punch. 

S. B. TO Messrs. Bradbury and Evans. 

" 12 New Inn, 

" nth November, 1856. 

" My dear Friends, Bradbury and Evans, 

" I have a favour to ask at your hands. Let me 
state the circumstances as briefly as I can. 

" My hands are very full of well-paid business, but 
my giving to it the full energy and attention which it 
requires has been grievously interfered with, during 
the last three months, by family afflictions of a very 
disturbing character. The serious illness of my father 
has been one of these, but a greater has been, I deplore 
to say, the (illness) of my sister, whose condition has 
rendered my days and even nights perfectly unsettled 
and miserable. It has been with much difflculty that 
I have been enabled to meet the various regular literary 
demands on me — the work of definite dates. Other 
work has been sadly postponed, for there is no need 
to tell you that intellectual labour can only be got 
out of something like a tranquil mind. 

" The next consequence has been that certain 
pecuniary troubles, of no great amount, but harassing, 
have been added to my vexations, and increase my 
hindrances. Could I remove the more pressing of 
these, I could go to work with full force, and do myself 
and others more justice. 

" I have tried to explain myself as succinctly as I 
could. I feel anxious to put my request with more 
circumlocution, and yet I should be thereby doing an 

146 



GENEROSITY OF BRADBURY & EVANS 

injustice to the spirit of friendship in which you will 
receive — however you decide upon — my request. 

" On delivery of my novel to Mr. Bentley, there will 
be £100 for me to receive. I would ask you, not for 
actual coin, but to oblige me with your acceptance, 
at 3 months, for the above amount, and I would also 
give you such authority as would prevent Mr. Bentley 
from handing the money over, except to yourselves. 
Thus, if my mind were at ease, and I could work, the 
book would be complete, and the money at your 
disposal before the acceptance was due. I do not 
know whether this is exactly a business-hke proposal, 
but it seems safe, if you have confidence in my brains 
and health — I know you have in my intentions. 

" I think I will say no more, except that I ask this 
with the reluctance one feels to trespass upon kindness, 
but I know that you will at once understand the whole 
case as completely as possible, and then I leave the 
matter for your consideration, simply adding that no 
result can increase or diminish the earnest regard with 
which I remain, 

" Dear ' B. and E.,' 

" Yours most faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

As before, Messrs. Bradbury and Evans gave the help 
that was asked for, and Shirley wrote : — 

S. B. TO Messrs. Bradbury & Evans. 

" 12 New Inn, 

" Nov. 2Sih. 1856. 

" My dear B. & E., 

" One word more of sincerest thanks for your 
kindness, which has much relieved my mind. 

" I will call at Whitefriars to-morrow about mid-day. 

147 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

In the meantime I enclose a bill which I hope, unlike 
Crabbe's, 

" Is drawn with true mercantile skill," 

and a sort of note to Bentley which will, I presume, 
answer the purpose of a distringas. 

" Believe me, my dear B. & E., 
" Yours most faithfully 
** and obliged, 

"S. B." 

It was about this time that the Brookses first met 
Mr. Frith, the distinguished Royal Academician, at a 
dinner at John Leech's, and thus began a friendship 
which lasted as long as Ufe. Writing of that meeting 
in his delightful " Reminiscences,"* Mr. Frith says : — 

" I then became aware how well Brooks deserved to 
be called * good company.' He had long been on the 
staff of Punch, under the leadership of Mark Lemon, 
and nearly every week that paper owed some of its 
smartest writing to the pen of Shirley Brooks. But 
it was in conversation, and above all in his letters, 
that his wit and humour were brilliantly conspicuous." 

As we proceed we shall constantly catch glimpses of 
delightful passages between these two remarkable men. 
One standing joke between them came to be that 
Shirley fathered upon his friend any particularly 
outrageous communication that might be from time 
to time thrust into the Punch letter-box. It was one 
of these communications which secured for Mr. Frith 
the nickname of " Cottle." Here is the distinguished 
artist's amusing account of the circumstance : — 

* The many valuable quotations from the Reminiscences which 
follow are made with the kind permission of Messrs. Macmillan & Co. 

148 



'* COTTLE " 

" A certain Elizabeth Cottle sent to Punch a wild 
document — plentifully interspersed with religious quo- 
tations — in which she proved to her own satisfaction 
that if she had her rights she would be Queen of 
England. She traced her descent in the clearest way 
from Henry VIII, who had a lawful wife unknown to 
history — a Lady Ehzabeth Cottle, or Cottal, daughter 
of a knight of that name who had saved Henry's life 
at the Battle of Armageddon. An angel appeared on 
the occasion, and placed upon the knight's head a 
crown of gold, thereby greatly astonishing all the 
British army. According to Elizabeth, the heavenly 
visitor stayed long enough to tell the English monarch 
that — in return for the important service rendered 
by the valiant knight — he must immediately take to 
wife the beautiful daughter of his preserver. The wife 
in possession was removed by simply taking off her 
head, and the Lady Cottle became Mrs. Henry, and 
from that secret marriage Mrs. Elizabeth Cottle under- 
took to show, in the pages of Punch, that she was 
descended in what she called ' a straight line ' ; 
offering great numbers of quotations from Holy Writ 
in proof of her case. 

" This interesting descendant from a long line of kings 
lived at Putney, a locality — as she threateningly put 
it — soon to be exchanged for Buckingham Palace. 

" The above, to the best of my lecoUection, is a fair 
summary of the Cottle manifesto ; the original — 
which Brooks sent me, with an inimitably funny note 
affecting to believe me to be the author — I regret to say, 
has been lost. 

'* In spite of my denial of any knowledge of Mrs. or 
Miss Cottle, I became Cottle in Shirley's eyes, and he 
frequently addressed me accordingly." 

I have said that, despite the fact that Shirley's 

149 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

pen was for ever in his hand, he was never too tired to 
put it to work again to dash off a joke which he wished 
to share with a friend. Here is a typical note of the 
kind, written to Mr. Frith a few years later, which also 
proves incidentally that Shirley was no great authority 
on German pronunciation. 

S. B. TO Mr. Frith. 
" My dear Cottle, 

" I present you with our work 

' ON THE EMINENT TELEGRAPHIST (BARON REUTER) 

' England believes his telegrams, 

Whether they please or fright her ; 
Other electric sparks are right, 
But he is always " righter." 

That forces the most ignorant to sound the name right. 
Such is genius ! . . . A man had been bankrupt 
eight times, each time paying two shillings and sixpence 
in the pound. He then declared that as eight half- 
crowns made a sovereign, he had paid twenty shillings 
in the pound. ... Is not this a neat way of calling a 
man a liar ? It was a witness who contradicted the last 
witness. Being asked to explain how the latter could 
have said what he did, he pleasingly remarked, ' That 

Mr. 's mind was so unfortunately constituted that 

he was unable to recognise the harmony that should 
exist between words and facts.' 

" I shall adopt this formula. 

" Unaware that I have other matter for your 
honour's attention, 

" I remain, with befitting respect, 
" Yours grumpily, 

" Plantagenet Brooks." 

150 



" SHEGOG " 

Here also is " The Epistle of Shegog," written by 
Shirley to Mr. Frith, which I have permission to quote 
from the " Reminiscences." It is certainly very 
frivolous and perhaps undignified, but it must be 
remembered in extenuation that it was written for 
private consumption. 

" Chapter I 
" Now the word of Cottle came unto me, even me, 
Shegog, saying, Come, and eat flesh, and drink wine, 
which maketh glad the heart of man, and impertinent 
the tongue of woman. Then I took counsel of myself, 
and said. The man, even Cottle, is a good man, and an 
affable ; moreover his harem hath found favour in 
mine eyes, and his child is comely. And I arose and 
went unto my wife, which came from the island that 
is beyond the western sea, and I said unto her, Lo ! 
And she replied. Is thy servant a cow that she should 
do this thing ? And again I said unto her, Lo ! 
(Veati ? W. P. F.) And she answered, saying. It is 
in the glass jug on the sideboard. And I said unto her 
the third time, Lo ! And she answered, saying, Low, 
dear boy, who is low ? Then did my wrath blaze out 
like the fire when it consumeth thorns, and I said unto 
her. Thou speakest as one of the foolish women 
speaketh. Have I not told thee three times to look 
at this letter, even this scroll, which is written by the 
man Cottle, which useth pigments, and maketh the faces 
of the princes of the people, and the chief lords thereof ? 
Likewise the highway robber, the man Claude Duval, 
and the little child which showeth her fat little legs to 
the sea, even the Ramsgate sea. Then the woman 
which is of the western islands answered, saying. 
Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian ; never- 
theless, give me the letter. And I spread the letter 
before the woman. 

151 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Chapter II 

" Now when she had read the letter, which was written 
in a strange tongue, hke unto that of Cerberus, the 
dog of hell, for it was three tongues, and all of them 
— bad, I said unto her. Cheer up. Art thou not 
my wife ? And she answered, saying. Even so, wus 
luck ; but that is not the matter. Didst thou not say 
unto them that dwell by Clapham (where, also, the 
Quakers dwell) that thou wouldst eat flesh and drink 
wine with them on the Sabbath day, even the fourth 
Sabbath in the season which is called Lent, because it is 
borrowed from the woman in scarlet ? And did I not 
beseech thee, saying, Bind not thyself unto these, for 
if thou dost, assuredly there will come unto thee that 
which is better ? And she turned and went away 
in a rage. 

" Chapter III 

" Then I, even I, Shegog, went into my own place. 
And I drew forth a weed, even a roll of the plant that 
Cometh from the West, and I burned the weed before 
the brazen image which Punchikadnezzar the king 
had set up. And peace flowed into my mind, and 
righteousness came in upon my soul. Nevertheless, 
I tarried certain time, for I said. Who am I, that I 
should be blowed up by the wife of my bosom ? But 
when the burnt sacrilice had been fully offered, I 
went forth and called, saying in a loud voice. Hi ! Hi ! 

" Chapter IV 

" And a voice came unto me, yea, a pleasant voice, and 
it answered, saying. But now thou saidest, Lo ! Which 
is it, I pray thee, tell me truly, for am I not thy wife, 
and one of a thousand ? And I said unto'^' myself, but 
meekly, I would altogether that thou wert ; howbeit, 
I have but one. Then I said unto her. Is all serene ? 

152 



MR. FRITH 

and she said, All is serene. Nevertheless, I am sorry 
for the word which thou gavest unto them which dwell 
by Clapham. Then I answered, saying, Verily, the 
wind bloweth where it listeth, and Shegog dineth 
where he liketh. And I wunk a wink at her. Then 
I said, I will write a lying epistle unto them which 
dwell at Clapham, and will tell them a lie, even a — lie, 
and we will go unto the man Cottle, and unto his wife, 
which is deservedly called Belle, and unto his pleasant 
child, and we will eat flesh, and our souls shall bless 
him. And she said. Die in peace, for we will dine with 
the man Cottle." 

There are other delightful letters from Shirley to 
Mr. Frith published in the" Reminiscences,"* to which 
I would refer my readers. 

* " My Autobiography and Reminiscences," by William Powell 
Frith, R.A. 1887-8. 



153 



CHAPTER X 

1857-1860 — Tennyson's Bust and Trinity College, Cambridge — 
" The British Lion's Vengeance on the Bengal Tiger " — 
" Amusing Poetry " — Death of Douglas Jerrold — John Cordy 
Jeaffreson — Birth of Cecil Brooks — Autograph Hunters — 
Shirley's Bust in the Academy — Once a Week — Napoleon 
III as the " French Porcupine " — Death of Macaulay — 
Percival Leigh — Spiritualism — Shirley as Lecturer — The 
Volunteer Association — " The Silver Cord " — His Short- 
comings as Novelist — Thackeray — Miss Annie Thackeray 
(Mrs. Ritchie). 




7 EW works of art executed in 
the year 1857 attracted more 
attention than the bust of 
Tennyson by Thomas Woolner. 
Two years later it was presented 
to Trinity College, Cambridge, 
but was excluded by the 
authorities from the library 
on the plea that there was 
no precedent for paying the 
honour of inclusion to a living 
person. 
This gave Punch, at the hands of Shirley Brooks, 
the opportunity of publishing one of the best parodies 
of the poet's style ever written. I have not space for 
more than a part. The whole may be found in the 
issue for Nov. 12th, 1859. 

154 



TENNYSON 

" THE LAUREATE'S BUST AT TRINITY. 

(A Fragment of an Idyll.) 

" So that stately bust abode 
For many a month, unseen, among the Dons. 
if m * * * * 

. . . ' for,' said one, 
' It is too soon,' and when they heard the phrase. 
Others caught up the cue, and chorussed it. 
Until, the poet echoing ' Soon ? too soon ? ' 
As if in wrath, Whewell looked up and said : — 
* O Laureate, if indeed you list to try, 
Try and unfix our purpose in this thing.' 
Whereat fuU shrilly sang th' excluded bard — 

" ' Soon, soon, so soon ! Whewell looks stern and chill. 
Soon, soon, so soon ! but I can enter still.' 
' Too soon, too soon ! You cannot enter now. ' 

" ' I am not dead : of that I do repent. 
But to my living prayer, oh, now relent ' : 
' Too soon, too soon ! You cannot enter now.' 

" ' Honour in life is sweet : my fame is wide, 
Let me to stand at Dryden's, Byron's side.* 
* Too soon, too soon ! You cannot enter now.' 

" ' Honour that comes in life is rare and sweet : 
I cannot taste it long, for life is fleet.' 
' No, no, too soon ! You cannot enter now.' 

" So sang the Laureate, while all stonily. 
Their chins upon their hands, as men that had 
No entrails to be moved, sat the stern Dons." 

The fact was that there was a suspicion amongst a 
section of the Fellows that Tennyson's final reputation 
was not sufficiently assured. Therefore for the time 
being it was placed in the vestibule of the library. 
Later on, when his position seemed irrevocably secure, 
it was removed into the Library proper. This was 

155 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

done in the poet's lifetime, which goes to prove that the 
original plea, that he was not yet dead, was hardly 
sincere. 

The year 1857 was marked by one of those contribu- 
tions which, as in the case of Jerrold's " Mrs. Caudle," 
and Thackeray's " Snobs," and " Jeames's Diary," 
suddenly brought about an increase in Mr. Punch's 
circulation. The chief merit of one of the finest 
cartoons that ever appeared in these pages of course 
lies with Sir John Tenniel, but the idea of " The British 
Lion's Vengeance on the Bengal Tiger " originated 
with Shirley Brooks. It is, and will remain, one of 
the great political cartoons of the world. Instinct 
with the fiercest passion and indignation, it yet perhaps 
stirs us more by its sublimity and pathos. The Indian 
Mutiny, the massacre at Delhi, the siege and the terrible 
and just retribution taken by Colonel Neill, the relief 
of Lucknow by Colin Campbell, the unspeakable 
horrors of Cawnpore are all matters of history. Who 
can ever forget the awful description of the last by one 
of the officers ? 

*' I was directed," he wrote, " to the house where all 
the poor miserable ladies had been murdered. . . . 
The place was one mass of blood. I am not exagger- 
ating when I tell you that the soles of my boots were 
more than covered with the blood of these poor wretched 
creatures. Portions of their dresses, collars, children's 
socks and ladies' round hats lay about saturated with 
their blood ; and in the sword cuts on the wooden 
pillars of the room long dark hair was carried by the 
edge of the weapon. . . . Their bodies were after- 
wards dragged out and thrown down a well outside 

156 




Reproduced by kind permission of the Proprietors o] " Punch " 

TiiK I'.KirisH lion's VENC.K^ 
by Sir Jo 




E ON THE BENGAL TIGER 
Ten 11 id 



"AMUSING POETRY" 

the building where their hmbs were to be seen sticking 
out in a mass of gory confusion." 

All that, and how much more, was in the minds of 
the Punch men and the country. And no one ever 
more successfully focussed public opinion than did 
John Tenniel on those two immortal pages. 

This year Shirley edited for Messrs. Lambert & Co. 
a pretty little volume of " Amusing Poetry," which 
eventually ran into several editions. From the preface 
we learn that the book did not merely represent his 
personal choice, but also reflected " the minds of a 
considerable number of suggestive and co-operative 
friends." The only point upon which he felt any 
difficulty in defending the selection was that it con- 
tained three contributions by himself. But he dis- 
armed criticism by resting his defence on the score that 
there were only three, and by quoting a good story : — 

" I remember," he says, " the story of a gentleman 
who discovered that his housekeeper had for a long 
time been cheating him in her summing up of the 
tradesmen's bills. She had turned every into 6, 
by adding a tail. He duly stormed, and threatened 
her with the Old Bailey, but was mollified by her plea 
that she could just as easily have changed the cipher 
into 9, it would only have been the turning the tail the 
other way ! " 

Shirley's three contributions were : " The Philosopher 
and her Father," p. 3 ; '' Christmas in War-Time " 
(1854), p. 56 ; and " A Vision of the Crystal Palace " 
(June 10th, 1854), p. 217. 

This year Shirley, with all the other Punch men, 
stood at the graveside of Douglas Jerrold. Long ago 

157 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

the older man had forgiven the younger for his rather 
bitter attack in the Man in the Moon, beginning 
" I hate the humbug of the * wrongs of the poor man ' 
style of writing," and Shirley was not least dear of 
those to whom he sent his dying message, " Tell the 
dear boys that if I've ever wounded any of them, I've 
always loved them." 

Twelve years later Shirley saw in the paper the death 
of the doctor who had attended Jerrold at the last, 
and noted : " This is the man whose non-comprehension 
was thought, rightly or wrongly, to have lost us that 
friend. His name recalls the sad day when I went 
up to see D. J., June 8th, 1857, not knowing of his 

illness, and found him dying. I never liked . 

I thought him bumptious and a pretender, but I knew 
too little of him to be certain. I (once) obliged him 
with some verses. . . . He never obliged me." 

The verses referred to were written for a large 
gathering at Clunn's Hotel on April 25th, 1863, when 
Thackeray presided at the Shakespeare dinner of 
" Our Club," of which the doctor was a member. An 
account of this, probably the last grand dinner over 
which Thackeray presided, is to be found in J. C. 
Jeaffreson's " Book of Recollections." The verses 
are feeble and not worth preserving. Thackeray was 
supported on his right hand by Shirley, and, according 
to Jeaffreson, who hated him, took part in a little 
scene at the close of the festivity. Thackeray, he says, 
believed him (Jeaffreson) to be the author of an adverse 
criticism of " The Story of Ehzabeth," written by 
Thackeray's elder daughter. In this Thackeray was 

158 



AUTOGRAPH-HUNTERS 

wrong, but (I quote Jeaffreson's own words), " as he 
passed out of the room, with Shirley Brooks at his 
elbow, (he) bowed slightly and stiffly to me, whilst 
Shirley Brooks regarded me with a look of exultation ! " 
Readers of Jeaffreson's querulous and pawky book 
will wonder whether this was not all imagination on 
the part of one whose self-importance was for ever dis- 
covering meaning in the least significant of actions. H 
Thackeray was angry, why did he bow at all ? and did 
Shirley really express all that Jeaffreson says he 
did by one passing look ? 

In August of this year Shirley's second son, Cecil, 
was born, and in September he paid his first visit to 
the Lemons at their house at Crawley, where he was 
ever after one of the most welcome of guests. 

Shirley was now a sufficiently imposing figure in the 

literary world to attract the attention of the autograph 

hunters. In a characteristic note of an earlier date, 

pasted in the before-mentioned presentation copy of 

" Aspen Court," I find him humorously contemplating 

the possibility of a certain value attaching to his 

signature. Horace May hew had written on May 27th, 

1856 :— 

" New Inn, 

" Wych St., Strand. 
" Dear Shirley, 

" Come down to-morrow to the Derby outside a 
coach. They start in dozens from my door — only a 
sovereign apiece. Come . . . quick, I am waiting 
for you. 

" Yours (expecting your corporeal * yes '), 

** HORATIUS." 
159 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

And Shirley had scribbled on the back : — 

" Not a bit of it, you extravagant Croesus ; if I go 
I shall go for 4s. by rail, and sponge on the Philistines. 
If it's fine and warm look out for 

"S. B. 

" I have not one d d scrap of note-paper. What 

would the world give for two such hautographs ? " 

Now, two years later, he received a formal application, 
and the applicant, Mr. W. H. Doeg, is generous enough 
not only to lend me his reply, but also to face the 
condemnation which commonly attaches to such 
demands. And I think we can forgive him when we 
realise how very young he must have been at the time. 
Shirley, as usual, shows great ingenuity in his response. 

S. B. TO Mr. W. H. Doeg. 

" The Temple, 

"Oct. 22nd, 1858. 

'* Dear Sir, 

" I am not a ' distinguished man,' but the 
distinguished service which you did in the days of 
Saul, commemorated in the 18th verse of the 22nd 
chapter of the first book of Samuel, precludes me from 
disobeying your desire. 

" I am, dear Sir, 

" Your obedient servant, 
" Shirley Brooks. 
" Mr. Doeg, 

" Edom, etc., etc." 

The allusion is of course to Doeg, the Edomite, who 
" fell upon the priests, and slew . . . fourscore and 
five persons that did wear the linen cphod." Shirley 

160 



THE "LITERARY GAZETTE" 

had no great love for priests as a class, although, as we 
shall see, there were some notable exceptions. 

Later, attacks from autograph-hunters became 
something of a nuisance, but he could never find it in 
his heart to refuse their flattering, though troublesome, 
demands. 

Here is an entry on the subject in his diary for 1871, 
which carries a wholesome lesson with it, and one which 
I would beg all autograph hunters and unknown 
correspondents to lay to heart. 

" Somebody, Algernon 0. Simon, London University, 
no, University College, writes for autograph, but sends 
no envelope. Told him he owed me a penny, and was 
to pay it to the first ragged child he saw." 

The only other events calling for mention this year 
were the appearance of Shirley's bust in the Royal 
Academy Exhibition, and his acceptance of the 
editorship of the Literary Gazette. The bust was 
numbered 1288 in the Royal Academy catalogue, 
and was one of several exhibited by a certain Mr. J. E. 
Jones, whose fame is unknown to me. I have been 
unable to trace its present whereabouts, if indeed it is 
still in existence. The fact of its execution is only 
worth mentioning as an indication of Shirley's 
increasing importance in the world. 

His appointment to the editorship of the Literary 
Gazette on the other hand was a matter of considerable 
moment. Not only was it a still further call upon his 
already highly-taxed energies, but it was a further proof 
of the esteem in which he was held by the proprietors 
of Punch. 

161 

I a— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

The Literary Gazette was starting on a new lease of 
life, and Shirley was chosen by Messrs. Bradbury and 
Evans, who now had a part interest in it, to be the 
first editor of its " new series." 

The following letter, referring to his proposed conduct 
of the paper, has been put at my disposal by the 
kindness of Mr. Lawrence Bradbury : — 

S. B. TO F. M. Evans. 

" ^Sith November, 1858. 

" My dear Evans, 

" I am not going to write you a long letter, but 
I could wish you to give your thought to what I am 
going to say, before we meet. 

" The first of the conversations — articles (I have a 
name for them, of which more anon) is in the printers' 
hands, but I do not wish you to see it until I have read 
and revised it, which I shall do the first thing to-morrow 
morning, D.V. It is necessarily introductory, and 
therefore unlike, except in form, what I propose to 
make its successors, but I have designed and named 
a set of dramatis personcB, and indicated their cha- 
racters, and my machinery, and have met divers 
enquiries and objections. It seemed necessary to be, 
at the outset, somewhat business-like, lest dull folks 
should fear flightiness and flippancy. When on the 
line we can put on the steam. 

" What I am undertaking is, however," not a light 
matter. It is an undertaking, on my part, to supply 
every week, for I hope many a 3^ear of success, a 
dramatic paper, on all subjects, written as well as I can 
write it, and on which my own reputation, laboriously 
earned, will depend. It will be known by everybody 
to be mine, and mine only. It will therefore be, as a 

162 



THE "LITERARY GAZETTE" 

matter of duty to you and to myself, the great business 
of my week, and towards which my reading, memo- 
randa, social gleanings, etc., etc., will mainly refer. 
In a word, it is a weekly serial by S. B. 

" I accept the work gladly, but with a full sense of 
its importance. I am in no degree afraid of it. — I have 
a sort of specialite for dialogue, and I have had 
dramatic experiences. For the rest, I trust myself 
duly qualified. 

" But it is a novelty, and one which will call up a 
host of objections (and remonstrances perhaps) while 
it is making its way to the success I hope for it. 

" If, therefore, on consideration, the proprietary 
elect to adopt this feature, I shall frankly rely upon 
my friend Bradbury and yourself for backing me up 
against the cavils, or timidities, or prejudices of others, 
either proprietors or not. And I know, thoroughly 
well, that I shall have it. I am resolved, so far as in 
me lies, to make the L. G. — I wish to Heaven it was 
for B. & E. only that I was going into harness, but 
n'importe pour cela, while B. & E. and S. B. are one. 
I address this to you, because you administer the 
journal, but the statements are addressed to Bradbury 
equally with yourself. 

" And so, believe me, 

" My dear Evans, 

" Yours always faithfully, 
" Shirley Brooks. 
" F. M. Evans, Esq." 

According to the verdict of a contemporary paper, 
which may be taken for what it is worth, Shirley 
greatly enhanced the reputation of the Literary Gazette. 
But his connection with it was short-lived and for 

163 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

some reason or other was abruptly terminated in the 
following year. Indeed, the position of editor of that 
journal would seem to have been curiously insecure, 
for there followed him no fewer than six occupants 
of the chair in the four years which preceded its 
incorporation, in 1862, with the Parthenon. 

But Shirley's superfluous energies were not long 
destined to remain unoccupied. 

The year 1859 found him taking a prominent part 
in the initiation of Messrs. Bradbury & Evans's new 
venture, Once a Week, which was to fill the gap caused 
by the discontinuance of Charles Dickens's Household 
Words. Edited by Samuel Lucas, and illustrated 
mainly by the Punch artists, it is now a mine of wealth 
to all interested in the black-and-white work of " the 
sixties." The title was one of Shirley's happy thoughts, 
and the introductory poem beginning " Adsumus," 
a rather wishy-washy performance it must be admitted, 
was from his pen. The only notable thing about it 
is that in each of the eleven verses he ingeniously finds 
a fresh rhyme for the title of the magazine, thus, from 
the outset, impressing it upon the ears of the public. 
A year later, and we shall find him the most prominent 
contributor to its pages. 

The mysterious conduct of the French Emperor was 
now creating considerable mistrust in the country. 
Louis Napoleon's protestations of peaceableness were 
held to be incompatible with his warlike attitude. 
Here is a leaf from Mr. Silver's note-book which tells 
how the idea for Leech's remarkable cartoon entitled 
" The French Porcupine ; he may be an Inoffensive 

164 



"THE FRENCH PORCUPINE" 

Animal, but he Don't Look like it," was hammered out 
at the table.* 

" In general," writes Mr. Silver, " Wednesday was 
our dinner day, but it was sometimes changed to 
Thursday, as was the case upon the 10th of February, 
in the year * fifty-nine.' Leech told us then he wanted 
' something simple ' in the way of the Big Cut, for he 
was going out of town for a day's hunting with Tenniel. 
So the good * Professor ' thought of a ' slim ' Yankee 
crying to a Spanish Don with a cheroot in his hand, 

* What'll yew take for that ar' Cuba ? ' a suggestion 
which may now seem to have been prophetic. But 
the French were then ebullient, and Shirley was for 
picturing their Emperor with his sword drawn — ' You 
can draw a sword, you know. Leech ' — sitting on a 
powder barrel and smoking the pipe of peace. * Yes, 
that's easy enough,' says Leech, ' but how can people 
know that it is the pipe of peace, unless I put a label 
on it, and that would look ridiculous ? ' And then 
the happy thought occurred to him of picturing the 
Emperor as ' The French Porcupine,' all bristling with 
bayonets. ' Ah, you've hit it now,' cries Shirley, 

* there's plenty of point there ! ' And next day Leech 
did the cartoon in a couple of hours' work, and then 
lunched quietly and met Tenniel at King's Cross for 
the L45 to Baldock. Sure of hand, he drew the figure 
on the wood block, without making any sketch for it, 
as he had before done Mr. Punch's Fancy Ball, which 
was far more elaborate, but the dozen or so of figures 
were drawn within three hours." 

The following letter shows that by 1860 the Brookses 
had moved to 22 Brompton Square. The " lines about 
Macaulay," who had died on the 28th of December, 

* Vide Punch, Vol. XXXVI. p. 74. 

165 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

appeared on the first page of Punch'' s new volume, 
printed in old English type, and run as follows : — 
" O dying year, didst wreak thy latest scoff 

On those who, wearied with thee, bade thee go, 
And, parting, didst with palsied hand strike off 

The noblest name our Golden Book could show ? 
Vain spite ! Self-branded, thou shalt pass away, 

Bearing his life whose fame was England's })ride, 
But through the ages English tongues shall say 
' That year ! an ill one. Then Macaulay died.' " 

The " medical meeting " referred to was supposed 
to have been called together " for the purpose of 
considering the propriety of presenting a testimonial 
from the Profession to the Clerk of the Weather," to 
whom they wished to return thanks for the prevailing 
influenza epidemic. 

" Truly," says Dr. Emulgent, " they [the doctors] 
ought to be thankful, for never was there so much 
sickness about — not dangerous, mind you, for that it 
would be wrong to be glad of, besides it being difficult 
to deal with, but that sort of very troublesome, irritat- 
ing, disagreeable illness that made everybody fidgetty 
and frightened, unless the medical man was constantly 
in the house." 

** Letters of Excuse " refers to an article entitled 
" A New Literary Invention," for which the curious 
reader must be referred to the pages of Punch (Jan. 7th, 
1860, p. 12). 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" 22 Brompton Square, S.W., 

" January 3rd. 1860. 

" My dear Leigh, 

" I was very glad indeed to receive your note, 
and heartily do I wish you the happiest possible new 

166 



PERCIVAL LEIGH 

year. If anybody deserves one, you do, for your 
conscientious work, and still more for your unselfish- 
ness and self-sacrifice to the comfort of others, but you 
know what I think about this, and so only once more, 
a happy 1860 to you. 

" The weather is hijus. ' The wind is roaring in 
turret and tree,' and the row it makes down here, in our 
open back is perfectly pestering. But I look on a 
church (of England, mind) an Oratory (Popish), and the 
long row of Brompton Boilers, which is the best of all, 
and the pictures highly-to-be-seen-before-lunch, as 
I hope you will find out ere long. So I am not quite 
shut up in the red box called a street. 

" I hope you will break it gently to Scamp,* that 
in future his master's house will be pervaded by a 
youth. I fear that it will be tooj'much for S. But 
Heaven tempers the schoolboy to} the scratched dog. 
In other respects your nevvy is to be envied, and I 
shall impress upon him that you have the freest 
admissions to pantomimes and whatever else is best 
worth his notice. 

" I will deliver your greetings to the P.P. f to-morrow. 
I have eight lines in Punch about Macaulay, which 
I rather hope you will like ; also the * Letters of 
Excuse ' ; also the ' Medical Meetings,' etc., etc., for I 
have worked hard. The truth is that Luke Or angel 
made a jolly row the other day, for he was reduced 
to his last shred of copy to make up the number, and 
was indeed I believe driven to ' write himself,' while 
I were gorging at the ' Albion ' in Aldersgate Street. 
This touched my heart, so I cut away, as you will see. 

* Leigh's dog. 

f P.P., Punch people. P.P. was embossed on the Punch 
envelopes and probably, Mr. Silver thinks, stood for Punch paper. 

\ Mark Lemon. 

167 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

But don't let him know I told you of his wrath, as he 
mollified afterwards. 

" Write again. Can I send you any newspaper or 
anything for work or play ? Say so, if so. My wife 
adds her best regards. Give mine to your brother, 
with all New Year greetings. 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

From the year 1860 onwards, Shirley, following the 
example of many of the Punch men, appeared from 
time to time as a public lecturer. One of the most 
popular of his discourses had the House of Commons 
for its subject, and was given for the first time at 
Leicester on the 19th of March of this year. 

The notorious Daniel Dunglas Home, the spiritualistic 
medium, was now the talk of Europe, and both Once a 
Week and Punch busied themselves with exposing what 
they considered to be his charlatanry. " Recent Spirit- 
Rappings," and a series entitled " Spirit-Rapping 
made Easy," appeared this year in the former, and in 
the latter amongst other typical articles was " Mr. 
Punch as a Spirit-Rapper " (June 9th, 1860). 

On July 2nd Shirley wrote to Percival Leigh : — 

" We have made the Spiritualists unhappy, and their 
rejoinder this month is miserably weak. However, 
I think that the Lord has delivered them into our 
hands, for they attack Leech personally (though civilly), 
and allege that, though he has seen a lot of things in the 
spiritual line which he can't explain, he caricatures. 
I hope he will come out with his fat medium." 

The " fat medium " refers to Leech's caricature of 
the Emperor Napoleon HI, which had appeared on 

168 



SPIRITUALISM 

May 12th, in which a " spirit hand," obviously a 
stuffed glove at the end of a stick, is seen coming out 
of the clouds, and, as Punch afterwards said, " assisting 
the Imperial Nose to form that derisive combination 
of the nasal and digital organisations which is vulgarly 
called ' Taking a sight.' " This caricature had been 
suggested by the following passage from the Spiritual 
Magazine : — 

" Four persons were sitting together at the Tuileries : 
the Emperor and the Empress, the Duchess de 
MoNTEBELLO, and Mr. Home. A pen and ink were 
on the table, and some paper. A Spirit-hand was seen, 
and presently it took up the pen, and in their sight and 
presence dipped it in the ink, went to the paper, and 
wrote upon it the word * Napoleon,' in the autograph 
of the great Emperor. The Emperor asked if he 
might be allowed to kiss the hand, and it went to his 
lips, and then to those of the Empress ; and afterwards, 
on Mr. Home making a humble request, he was per- 
mitted to kiss its warm and soft texture. The auto- 
graph is now among the valued contents of the 
' Emperor's spiritual portfoho.' " 

At first Punch laughed at Home as a more or less 
harmless impostor, but later on, when he got mixed 
up in certain very shady monetary transactions, he 
declared himself an implacable opponent. 

In the letter quoted above Shirley further says, 
" I hope you have seen my lines, * Victoria's Midday 
Review.' " The Queen had reviewed eighteen thou- 
sand of her lately banded citizen soldiers in Hyde Park^ 
and Shirley's spirited verses beginning : — 

169 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" They tell us a tale that we dare not ignore, 
That deep in a glade we have hunted before 

A Tiger is waiting to spring ; 
And so we come up to our Queen as of yore 
Our fathers came up to their King," 

struck the high patriotic note which was echoed by 
Punch on every available occasion. True, the Volun- 
teers came in for a good deal of harmless chaff at his 
hands bye and by, but only in a friendly manner and 
in the way of business. At heart he was profoundly 
moved by the patriotism and self-denial shown by 
those who realised the imminent possibility of a French 
invasion. 

" We come that the Lady of Kingdoms may know, 
In the day, should it chance, that her bugles shall blow 

She shall find Hunter-Soldiers astir ; 
And the men whom her signal shall launch on the foe 
Shall be worthy of dying for Her." 

Shirley was not a second Ram Dass with fire enough 
in his belly to burn away the sins of the whole world, 
but he had enough fire in him to be a good lieutenant 
to Mr. Punch in his fight for what was high, noble and 
patriotic, and in his self-imposed mission of laughing 
away what was foolish, bad or contemptible. 

Encouraged by the success of " The Gordian Knot," 
and notwithstanding the fact that he was more and 
more overwhelmed with newspaper work, Shirley now 
embarked on another serial novel. This time he 
worked for Messrs. Bradbury & Evans, and " The 
Silver Cord " ran from November 16th, 1860, for ten 
months in their newly established periodical, Once a 
Week, where again he had the valuable co-operation 

170 



A DEBAUCH OF LYING 

of his friend, John Tenniel. Here he set himself to 
write a story, " devoid as far as possible of description, 
either moral or physical, and resting its claims to 
attention on action and dialogue, after the manner of 
the French novels of the day." 

Discussing the novel on its appearance in book form 
the following year, when it was shorn of its chief 
attraction, the Tenniel illustrations, the Illustrated 
Review said, " The work is called on the title-page 
* A Story ' ; it might more accurately have been dubbed 
' A Story of Stories.' " And certainly Oscar Wilde 
himself would have found no Decay of Lying here. 
The book begins with Arthur Lygon, the hero, a really 
fine fellow, telling a string of lies to his servants and 
children. Then he goes and repeats the lies to a 
Mr. and Mrs. Berry. Then Mr. Berry lies to his wife, 
and immediately after to Arthur Lygon himself, all, 
be it said, with the best possible motives. The orgy 
of lying is now in full swing. Old Mr. Vernon lies to 
his eldest daughter. Monsieur Silvain, the perfumer, 
lies to Mrs. Lygon ; Henderson, the maid, lies to 
Laura. Mrs. Berry lies to Arthur. Arthur lies to 
Robert Urquhart. Bertha lies to Arthur. Laura's 
sister lies to Laura. Mrs. Urquhart lies to Henderson. 
Henderson lies to her mistress. Her mistress tells 
Henderson to lie to her husband, and then follows suit 
and lies to him herself. Price, another maid, lies to 
Mrs. Berry. She also hes to Mr. and Mrs. Hawkesley. 
Bertha lies to everyone she comes across. And 
Monsieur Wolowski and his police spy, liars by pro- 
fession, fill up the gaps left by anybody else. Indeed, 

171 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

by the time we get to the end of the book we should 
be hard put to it to find two persons who had not hed 
the one to the other. The result is profound dis- 
satisfaction on the part of the reader, who wonders, 
when the end comes, whether the author has disen- 
tangled all " the well-selected falsehoods," which he, 
the reader, certainly has not. 

The novel, however, attracted a great deal of atten- 
tion, and Shirley was inundated during its progress 
with suggestions from his readers as to what he should 
or should not make his characters do. Two persons 
separated by the events of the narrative must be 
reconciled. This, that, and the other expedient for 
bringing about the desired re-union are tendered to the 
author. One particularly remorseless correspondent 
affectionately urges him to " kill one of the children in 
order to reconcile the parents across its tomb." This 
he absolutely refuses to do on the ground " that Herod 
had of late been too rampant among the children of 
novels to justify the repetition of the expedient. 
A great Master," he continued, " set the example 
and did it so exquisitely that his inimitable workman- 
ship should have warned off parodists, but a Massacre 
of the Innocents set in, and happy is the novel-reader 
who gets through a second volume without weeping 
over a slain child." 

Another correspondent, a very practical person this 
time, desired to know how a gentleman in a public office 
managed to stay away as long as he did without 
forfeiting his situation. To this Shirley replied, as the 
French critic did, when asked what personal attractions 

172 



"THE SILVER CORD" 

Penelope could have had for Ulysses after all those 
many years of his ramblings, " that it would be well 
if persons would attend to their own affairs and believe 
that heroes are the best judges of their own business." 

But, notwithstanding his jaunty treatment of his 
correspondents, he was in reality profoundly dissatis- 
fied with the limitations imposed upon him by serial 
publication, and determined that his next, and what 
was to prove his last, venture of the kind should appear 
on its first issue in book-form. 

Nor were his friends hitherto much impressed by his 
novels, notwithstanding their success with the public. 
They were not as good as they anticipated. They were 
not worthy of the great gifts which they knew he 
possessed. The fact that he was only novel-writing 
in his spare time and that his best energies were sapped 
by other exacting labours was either ignored or 
forgotten. 

As Mr. Frith wrote in his " Reminiscences " : — 

" I confess his novels were disappointing to me. 
I had read one, * Aspen Court,' I think ; and having, 
rather hypocritically, given it more praise than I fear 
it deserved, Brooks said, ' Wait till you read the 
" Silver Cord," my boy ; that will improve your mind, 
if it is not too far gone for anything wholesome to act 
upon it.* 

" The * Silver Cord ' came, and took its place upon 
the drawing-room table. Brooks called one day — 
some time after he had presented the novel — caught 
sight of his book, took it up, examined it, and, with an 
expression I shall never forget, said, as he threw it 
down, ' Not even cut.' " 

173 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

The book had, hke its predecessors, been mostly 
written at Mark Lemon's house at Crawley, whence 
he wrote to Mr. Evans just before the appearance of 
the first instalment : — 

" I am making good use of my time here, and 
therefore do not wish to come up till the afternoon. 
I send up a hne, however, to say that I am at work on 
my book, that on Monday the first portion will be in 
the printer's hands, and I suppose he will hand it to 
Tenniel on Tuesday, and that by the end of next week, 
there will be three numbers out of my hands. This is 
all I could say if I came up. 

" I don't think that Mr. Reade's or Mr. Meredith's 
shortcomings have anything to do with me, though 
Lucas seems to think so, and speaks of them as having 
both ' broken down.' I am not going to break down, 
D.V." 

The reference to " Mr. Reade's and Mr. Meredith's 
shortcomings " has a certain irony about it. " Evan 
Harrington," Mr. Meredith's immortal novel, had just 
ceased running, and had not proved a popular attrac- 
tion. Charles Reade's masterpiece, " A Good Fight," 
afterwards enlarged into " The Cloister and the 
Hearth," had preceded it and had fallen equally flat. 
And Lucas, the editor, was looking to Shirley Brooks 
to revive interest in the magazine with " The Silver 
Cord ! " Now, " The Silver Cord " is broken indeed, 
whilst " Evan Harrington " and " The Cloister and the 
Hearth" are classics, and have taken undisputed places 
on our shelves. 

A month before the novel started on its serial course 
Shirley wrote to Miss Betty Lemon, asking for her 

174 



LADY ROMER 

judgment upon the chosen title and pointing out its 
similarity to that of the earlier novel, " The Gordian 
Knot." 

S. B. TO Miss Betty Lemon. 
(Now Lady Romer.) 

" Once a Week Office, 

" 11 BouvERiE St., Fleet St., 
" London, E.C. 

" Oct. 5th, 1860. 

" My dear Betty, 

" The opinion of Vine Cottage is respectfully 
requested in favour of the title of the new novel by the 
distinguished personage who recently occupied the best 
bedroom in that establishment. The christening has 
taken place this day, and the name in question is, you 
see. still in the Knot line. 



" Ever yours affectionately, 

" The Silver Cordwainer." 

To this I may append the following sentence from a 
letter written to me by Lady Romer, throwing as it 
does a side-light on the surroundings amidst which 
the book was written. 

" Mr. Brooks stayed frequently with my father and 
mother when I was young, and at home, and he entered 
into all the fun and amusements of our large family 
in a way that very few men of his position would have 
done, and we were all so fond of him, and so proud of 
the interest he took in us." 

It is a curious commentary, as I have said, upon the 
contemporary judgment of literature and upon con- 
temporary taste that Lucas, the editor of Once a Week, 

175 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

should have anticipated, and apparently with some 
reason, that a novel by Shirley Brooks should make up 
for " the shortcomings " of Mr. Meredith and Charles 
Reade. To us who now turn over the pages of the 
bound volumes of the magazine and recognise how 
finely matched were author and artist in " Evan 
Harrington " — Charles Keene, as great an artist in 
black-and-white as George Meredith in pungent 
satire — it is nothing less than a mystery that " The 
Silver Cord," overpowered as it is by the beautiful 
illustrations after John Tenniel, could have had any 
prospects at all. Not that the story is without 
ingenuity, but it is dull, tiresome, and long-winded. 
Now and again we meet with a good idea passably 
expressed, but far more often wdth a good idea marred 
by slovenly writing. Just think how Mr. Meredith 
would have expressed this, for example : — 

" Marion was tall, but not especially so, and height 
is a merit in its way, but not especially so when one 
avails oneself of it as a tower of espial, and rejoices 
in the ability to look down with undue ease upon the 
misdoings of a shorter world — and so did Marion 
Wagstaffe use those extra inches ! " 

That is a good idea about as badly expressed as may 
be. That Shirley, given time, could do better than 
that we know, but the fact was that he was giving 
himself no proper chance. He was a hack ridden 
by a printer's devil, with Time barking at his heels. 
That was the reason. The excuse lies in the fact that 
he had a family to provide for. 

That the novel had some success is apparent from 

176 



LITERARY METHODS 

the fact that, on its pubhcation in book-form, it at 
once ran into a second edition, and that it was still 
being reprinted in 1865, as is proved by Shirley's entry 
in his diary for that year : — 

** The cheap edition of the * Silver Cord ' is out 
to-day, and 1,200 have been already taken by the 
trade. The Press is to be worked a little — this I 
consider as much matter of business, in these days, as 
reading one's proofs." 

Which incidentally shows that there were ways of 
making the cat jump in those days as in these. 

About this time, Mr. Silver tells me, Thackeray and 
Shirley were comparing notes about their writing. 
Thackeray was now editing the Cornhill and con- 
tributing to it " The Roundabout Papers." " It takes 
me a couple of days to choose a subject for a ' Round- 
about,' " he said, " then a day to write it and I earn a 
hundred pounds. When I get my nose down to the 
desk the thoughts come pretty freely." " So do mine," 
said Shirley, " but I haven't got a desk, and I never 
think of a subject beforehand. The words flow fast 
enough, but not in a flux like some folks." 

That was just where Shirley failed, and Thackeray 
succeeded. Thackeray thought out and digested his 
ideas before he put pen to paper. Shirley scratched 
away at his paper until the effects came. There was 
just the same difference between their work as there 
was between the black-and-white work of two others 
of the great Punch brotherhood. Charles Keene never 
laid a line down without being sure that it conveyed 
his exact meaning. Du Maurier laid down a dozen 

177 

X 3— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

lines before he discovered the exact meaning he wished 
to convey. As Charles Keene left nothing, so did 
Thackeray leave nothing, to chance. As Pope has it, 

" True ease in writing comes from Art, not chance, 
As those move easiest who have learned to dance." 

Shirley left everything to chance, trusting to his 
cleverness to pull him through, with the result that his 
" easy writing " produced what Sheridan called 
" cursed hard reading." 

I hope I shall not be accused of whipping a dead 
horse, but my object is to show what interest may lie 
in the personality of a man whose work has come to be 
of little or no living importance. 

And, lest Shirley the man should have been too long 
lost sight of in the strictures which I have been passing 
on his writing, let me conclude this chapter with one 
of those bright scintillations of his brain, not un- 
connected with the comparison drawn above between 
him and Thackeray, which have made him unforgetable 
amongst such of his contemporaries as have survived 
him. 

Mr. Silver, Shirley and Thackeray were together three 
years later [1863] discussing Miss Annie Thackeray's* 
beautiful "Story of Elizabeth." Thackeray expressed 
the pride he felt in such a daughter, and declared that 
her novel had all his better and none of his worse 
qualities. 

From this sweeping judgment Shirley and Mr. Silver 
dissented, but they agreed that he did well to be proud 

* Mrs. Ritchie. 

178 



MISS ANNIE THACKERAY 

of a daughter who, in those days of shpslop scribbhng, 
could write such pure and well-cadenced Enghsh. 
" She reminds me/' said Shirley, " of Minerva springing 
fully-equipped from the brain of Jupiter. I hope she 
won't cut me now she's famous and I'm an old fogey." 
Then one of his nimble thoughts flashed into his brain, 
and he exclaimed with a sigh : — 

"When a man gets middle-aged ' Eheuf lahuntur 
anni* How the Annies slip away from him ! " 



179 



CHAPTER XI 



1861-1S63 — 6 Kent Terrace — Harriet Martineau — Literary Pensions 
— " Poet " Close — Holywell Street — The Prince Consort — 
" Timour the Tartar " — " The Card Basket "• — Letters — 
" Sooner or Later " — Why Shirley Failed as Novelist — Nursery 
Rhymes — The Musical World — Death of Thackeray — Bust in 
Westminster Abbey. 

URRIEDLY as London of 
the last century is 
passing away, there are 
still portions remaining 
which express the mind 
of the people who origin- 
ally built and inhabited 
them, and being a little 
off the track of modern 
" improvements," con- 
tinue to speak to us of 
the conditions under 
which those people lived. 
The Regent's Park is one 
of these back-waters, 
and is only properly 
peopled in my mind by 
ladies wearing crinolines and gentlemen with side- 
whiskers, by little girls whose trousers reach down 
to their ankles, and policemen who wear top hats. 

180 




NO. 6 KENT TERRACE 

And it was there, under conditions of which these were 
some of the outward signs, that the Brookses and their 
children went to hve in 1861. It was at No. 6 Kent 
Terrace that the last twelve years of Shirley's life were 
spent, those years in which he was to attain to the 
height of his ambition and in which he was to gather 
around him the host of friends who, when the time 
came, so sincerely mourned his loss. 

At first he also had working chambers at 2 Taniield 
Court. Later he gave these up, and did such work as 
could not be done at the " Bedford " or the Punch 
offices at home in the study behind his dining-room. 

In the diary of 1871 he quotes from that of 1861, 
** Thank God, moved into a house of my own, and 
kissed E. as mistress. . . . Came out to get some 
food, and took her back a turquoise basket and chain, 
and a bottle of fine Madeira." That was one of the 
little dramatic effects that he was so fond of arranging 
on epoch-making occasions. Then, sitting down at a 
little table they drank success to the new experiment. 
And from that moment that httle table became 
something sacred, a sort of altar on which they had 
poured out libations to the god of domesticity. Once 
indeed its sanctity was for the moment forgotten, 
and the incident duly recorded in the diary of ten years 
later. Mrs. Brooks, wanting a new small table, " got 
one (in exchange) for some money and for a table which 
she had had a long time. But, remembering that this 
was the first table at which we sat in this house — that 
at which we had a bottle of Madeira together the day 
we came — she got it back again." 

181 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

That is a pretty touch, worthy of Mr. Pepys himself, 
and characteristic of Shirley's tender sentimentality. 

As we proceed we shall find record of much inter- 
esting company which passed through the Brooks's 
hospitable door and of many a notable entertainment. 
For the moment we must content ourselves with two 
quotations, the one from Mr. Frith's " Reminiscences," 
the other from a kind letter written to me by Miss 
Ellen Terry. 

Mr. Frith says : — 

" It would be too great an effort of memory to recall 
the names of the celebrated people I have met at 
Shirley's table. Charles Kingsley and Mark Twain 
were there the same evening, I think — the former with 
the drawback of a slight stutter, delighting us with 
his bright talk ; and the latter with his quaint humour ; 
Brooks always ' holding his own ' in that or any other 
company." 

And Miss Terry : — 

" My acquaintanceship with Shirley Brooks was 
slight. I was very young when I met him at the house 
of my dear friend Tom Taylor. He appeared to me 
to be a brilliant creature, sunny and kind. He had 
a handsome wife, and they gave pleasant dinner- 
parties at their house in Regent's Park. ... I met 
him first during the Canterbury cricket week, and then 
went to two or three dinner-parties at his house. 
Mark Lemon, the Tom Taylors, John Tenniel, Piatti, 
Joachim, Clara Schumann, du Maurier, Sir Alexander 
Duff-Gordon, Christopher Weguelin, Thomas Sidney 
Cooper and his son, Madame Venturi, and many other 
interesting people I met there. I admired Mrs. 

182 



"POET" CLOSE 

Shirley Brooks, and thought she would ' make a fine 
Lady Macbeth.' " 

The following peculiarly interesting letter addressed 
to Shirley at this period has been most kindly sent to 
me by Mr. George Dunlop, of the Kilmarnock Standard. 
It raises two points of great importance, firstly, that 
of Literary Pensions, secondly, that of the religious 
formahties attending the taking of oaths, both of which 
matters were of vital significance in the career of the 
writer, Harriet Martineau. 

In April, 1860, a civil list pension had been granted 
on the recommendation of Lord Palmerston to a 
wretched doggerel- writer named John Close. His 
sycophantic muse had gained him the patronage of the 
nobility and gentlefolk in and around his native 
Swaledale, and, chiefly through the influence of Lord 
Carlisle and Lord Lonsdale, he had obtained a wide- 
spread and most undeserved recognition. The bestowal 
of the pension was nothing less than a public scandal, 
and on May 2nd, 1861, the matter was raised in the 
House of Commons. As a result the pension was 
cancelled, the " Poet " Close receiving a solatium of 
£100 from the Royal Bounty.* 

This was the moment at which Miss Martineau wrote 
her letter and recounted her own experiences. On the 
subject of literary pensions and the manner in which 
they were granted the distinguished authoress held 
strong opinions. As early as 1832 there had been 

* For further particulars of the " Poet " Close vide the "Dictionary 
of National Biography," Vol. II, Sup., p. 34. 

183 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

talk of conferring one upon her, and the offer had been 
repeated in 1840 and 1841, but she consistently refused 
to accept such recognition of her services to literature 
on the ground that it should be conferred by Parliament 
itself altogether irrespective of the Government. 
Feeling ran high on the subject, and Lord Brougham, 
on hearing her name mentioned, so far demeaned him- 
self as to exclaim, " Harriet Martineau ! I hate her ! 
I hate a woman who has opinions. She has refused a 
pension — making herself out to be better than other 
people." That was as contemptible and insolent as it 
was dishonest, for he well knew that her very logical 
and unselfish view was that political independence was 
essential to honest and useful literary work. The 
pensioners of a party are tongue-tied. The pensioners 
of a nation have a charter to speak out the truth that 
in them lies. 

That is the first matter with which the letter deals. 
The second is of even greater importance. The story 
of the gradual substitution of solemn affirm.ations for 
religious oaths, where there are conscientious objections 
to the attendant formalities, is too long to be recapitu- 
lated here. It is enough to remind the reader that 
the struggle with Mr. Bradlaugh in 1880 brought the 
matter finally to a crisis, and that, since 1888, in all 
cases where formerly an oath sworn upon the Bible 
was necessary, an affirmation may now be substituted. 

The condition of things in 1861 is plainly set forth 
in the following letter, which would seem to have 
been written in response to one from Shirley Brooks 
enquiring as to the claims of Close to public recognition. 

184 



LITERARY PENSIONS 

Harriet Martineau to S. B. 

" Ambleside, 

" Westmoreland, 

"May I5th, '61. 

" Dear Mr. Brooks, 

" Though I am a Westmoreland ' Stateswoman * 
I never heard of this poet, and I doubt whether my 
neighbours ever did. We will inquire. It seems a 
very bad case, and I will look out for an opportunity 
of bringing it forward. I don't at all like the method 
of those literary pensions. When it was repeatedly 
attempted to get me to accept a pension — Mrs. 
Somerville and I being wanted to cover some bad jobs 
in that department — I was told that it was ' a great 
honour.' I did not refuse out of pride ; but still 
I could not think it an honour, when I saw how Mrs. 
Somerville was paraded, and how I should have been 
paraded if I had accepted, to turn the public atten- 
tion away from some indefensible grants. You are 
probably hardly old enough to remember how Lord 
Melbourne treated Faraday. His tone, in public, and 
Lord Palmerston's, and that of every Minister except 
Peel, about these literary pensions is, to my mind, 
insufferable, when they think, all the while, that they 
are so kind ! We want a wholly different system, in 
which the decisions shall not rest with Prime Ministers 
who don't read, under a Queen who reads nothing. 
We want a larger system, generous and dignified, 
and in the hands of some administrators who could be 
respected by scientific and literary people. Perhaps 
we ought not to be sorry that so flagrant a case as this 
of Close has occurred, to show how badly the present 
system of dole by favour or caprice answers. If I can 
treat of it I will. 

" I have been thinking of writing to Mr. Evans on 

185 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

a matter which I will rather mention to you — though 
I don't know what, precisely, your connection with 
Punch is. I am sorry — everybody is sorry — to see 
Pwich treat the Rochdale Oath case as he does. I 
think he can hardly be aware what the denial of justice 
is to persons whose oath or whose testimony is refused 
in Courts of Justice. Are you aware that thieves, and 
police, and low attorneys now ascertain who the 
persons are who cannot get justice ? Are you aware 
that some of us — and I for one — have been pointed out 
in a newspaper as safe subjects for burglary, garrotting, 
etc. ? Are you aware that some of the best clergymen, 
as well as the best lawyers we have, are earnestly 
endeavouring to get an Affirmation Bill passed, which 
shall restore the witness-box to its proper use, instead 
of its being used for the ascertainment of people's 
theological opinions ? Mrs. Maden was the most 
modest, quiet, harmless witness that could be. She 
did not obtrude her opinions. She did not refuse the 
oath. (After Lord Campbell's and other Judges* 
avowals people may regard the oath as a form of 
asseveration without being necessarily dishonest.) She 
would have taken the oath, and troubled nobody ; 
but the opposing lawyer catechised her, and then she 
spoke the simple truth. I never heard of her before ; 
but I entirely respect her now ; and I do not respect 
Punch the more for taking the wrong side in a case of 
liability which becomes more urgent ever}^ day, and 
in which relief is becoming absolutely indispensable. 
It is bad enough that a citizen should be precluded from 
obtaining justice. It is bad enough that he should 
be subject to insult in Court from lawyers who often 
know and believe less than he does. But it will be 
a great additional shock if the hue and cr}^ is to be 
hounded on by Punch, from whom so much better 
things are expected. I hope this is the last time he will 

186 



"CLOSE'S GUSH OF GRATITUDE" 

help the denial of justice to precisely the persons who 
will not tell a lie to obtain their rights. You may 
have nothing to do with all this, but you may be able 
to convey to the Editor or Editors what is thought 
by me, and by many others, and by some whose opinion 
is of great value and importance. 

" Believe me very truly yours, 

" H. Martineau." 



Whether or no Shirley took any active part in the 
oaths and affirmations matter I do not know, but he 
was not slow to take a hand in ridiculing the " Poet " 
Close. Miss Martineau's hint was at once acted upon, 
and shrewd blows were struck by him in two sets of 
verses purporting to be from the pen of the doggerel- 
bard himself. The first was entitled "Close's Gush of 
Gratitude " (Punch, June 1st, 1861), and was a happy 
parody of Close's fulsome panegyrics. It began : — 

" For this kind pension thou hast gave. 
All thanks to thee, great Pam, 
I am your most obedient slave, 
Upon my soul I am." 



and ended 



For he is as good as he is great. 
And when he comes to die, 

I only hope that we both shall meet 
In yon purpureous sky. 

Till then I'll always sing his praise. 
That I've determined on ; 

And truly proud I am to hear 
His name, like mine, is John." 
187 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

This was followed a fortnight later by " Poet Close 
Changes his Mind." It concludes : — 

"To be a pensioned slave of State 

Unsuits my haughty mind, 

I choose to have my genius free, 

Uncabined, unconfined. 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

" And when old Pam goes down below, 
His epitaph I'll pen, 
' Here lies the wretch who pensioned Close, 
And took it away again.' " 

That was the end of the " poet " so far as Punch was 
concerned, but he continued for thirty years longer 
" to issue little pamphlets of metrical balderdash," 
extorting " shillings from thousands of visitors to 
Windermere, and stamps from numerous sympathisers 
all over the country." 

This year, amongst other windmills against which 
Shirley tilted, was that sink of iniquity, Holywell 
Street, which some of the respectable inhabitants 
now proposed to re-christen Booksellers' Row. He 
prophesied : — 

" The doom has gone out and the dens will go down. 
Too long a vile scandal on London's renown ; 
An Architect's waving a potent right hand, 
Devoted to sweep off the pest of the Strand." 

But, as we know, " the Architect " was very slow 
about it, and " the old Holy Well " was not made 
" holy again " until forty years later. 

About the same time he penned one of those happy 
epigrams which fashioned themselves so easily in his 
brain : — 

188 



THE PRINCE CONSORT 

HOMAGE TO THE SCOTCH RIFLES. 

By a Spiteful Competitor. 

" It seems that the Scots 

Turn out much better shots 
At long distance, than most of the Englishmen are : 

But this we all knew 

That a Scotchman could do — 
Make a small piece of metal go awfully far." 

These were of course merely the squibs of the pro- 
fessional jester who had to keep the pot boiling, but 
the year was big with a matter which stimulated his 
pen to greater issues. Punch in the past had taken the 
popular and misguided view of the Prince Consort's 
conduct in his very dififtcult position, and Shirley had 
not been guiltless in the paper's cruel attacks on one 
whose position precluded him from retaliation, and 
whose high character and noble self-effacement were 
pitifully misunderstood. In 1855 the Prince had been 
made a Field-Marshal, and Shirley had written a 
spiteful set of verses entitled " The Toy of the Field 
Marshal's Child," breathing the same spirit as was 
shown by the picture of Mr. Punch looking at the 
Academy portrait of the Prince at a review and saying 
" No. 24. A Field-Marshal ; h'm — very good indeed. 
What sanguinary engagement can it be ? " Later on 
it is said that a hint from Windsor Castle resulted in 
a modification of this hostility, and soon after the 
attacks ceased altogether. 

And now, on December 14th, 1861, the object of 
these attacks lay untimely dead. He had lived down 
the prejudice against his foreign nationality and had 

189 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

won his way to the hearts of the people. Shirley was 
chosen to express Punch's agreement with the popular 
verdict, and to make such amends as were possible. 
And it must be confessed he rose nobly to the occasion. 
A few verses must suffice : — 

" Gallant, high-natured, brave, 

O, had his lot been cast in warrior days, 
No nobler knight had won the minstrel's praise, 
Than he, for whom the half-reared banners wave. 

* * * 

" It was too soon to die. 

Yet, might we count his years by triumphs won, 
By wise, and bold, and Christian duties done, 
It were no brief eventless history. 

* « * 

" Could there be closer tie 

'Twixt us, who, sorrowing, own a nation's debt, 
And Her, our own dear Lady, who as yet 
Must meet her sudden woe with tearless eye ? 

" When with a kind relief 

Those eyes rain tears, O might this thought employ ! 
Him whom she loved we loved. We shared her joy, 
And will not be denied to share her grief." 

This was not the only time that Punch made such 
amends as he could for misjudging a noble character. 
Indeed, we shall see later that he was not above eating 
humble pie most humbly, thereby showing himself the 
gentleman he was, when events proved his judgment to 
have been too hastily formed. 

Shirley was not yet done with play writing, and 1861 
found him collaborating with John Oxenford, the great 
dramatic critic of the Times, in " Timour the Tartar, 

190 



THE GERMAN REEDS 

or the Ironmaster of Samarkand." The nature of this 
extravaganza, founded as it was on the story of 
Tamerlane, may be gathered from the explanatory 
letterpress which significantly stated that " a trifling 
lapse of time between the years 1361 and 1861 occasion- 
ally occurs." It occupied the stage of the " Olympic " 
at Christmas of this year. 

Nor was this the extent of his theatrical activity at 
this period. 

Earlier in the year the German Reeds and John 
Parry had scored a great success with his triologue 
entitled " The Card Basket," a dramatic trifle which 
started life with only one parent, but has since, in a 
curious way, acquired another. Some years later, 
I think in 1875, after Shirley's death, Mr. Arthur 
a Beckett was doing " stock author " work for the 
German Reed entertainments. It was decided to 
revive " The Card Basket," but no *' book " could be 
found. Mr. and Mrs. Reed, and Corney Grain, who 
had succeeded John Parry, had but a vague recollection 
of the plot and the points. All they could remember 
with distinctness was that there were three sisters 
who all said " dear me." That was, it must be 
admitted, little enough to go upon, but Mr. a Beckett 
rose to the occasion, and set to work to re-write the play 
from these ineffectual hints and from his own inner 
consciousness. The result proved a success, and the 
Press of the day was loud in its praises of " Shirley 
Brooks's dialogue," for it still stood in his name, 
declaring with one accord that it was " so much better 
than the dialogue of the moment." Thus did Mr. 

191 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Arthur a Beckett act as " Ghost " to his old friend, and 
thus did the Fourth Estate show that it is not always 
to be trusted when it sets up as laudator temporis acti ! 
The manuscript of " The Card Basket " (new edition), 
which was never pubhshed, is now in the possession of 
Mr. Florian Williams, the music-publisher of Great 
Portland Street, as is also that of Shirley Brooks's 
" Pyramids," also unpublished, written for the German 
Reeds, and first produced at the Gallery of Illustration 
on Feb. 1st, 1864. 

With this last ends the list of Shirley's contributions 
to the stage, leaving out of account various prologues 
and speeches written for special occasions, of which 
we shall find some mention when we come to the Diaries. 

In later years Shirley was accustomed to deplore 
what he considered the decadence in the writing of 
burlesque. He would speak of the " palmy days of 
Planche," whose polished lines put to the blush the 
slap-dash, slip-slop work of those who followed him. 
Apropos of this Mr. Silver writes to me : " One day at 
the Punch dinner-table, after the business of the 
evening was transacted, Shirley said, * Good legs will 
carry off bad rhymes, and people chiefly go to look 
and not to listen. And so players don't take pains 
to say their words intelligibly, and instead of good 
burlesques we get bad puns and breakdown dances.* 
As a sample of stage-writing, he thought the verse 
' An upright monarch and a downright fool ' was rather 
a good hne of his own, when rightly spoken. And he 
agreed with me in praising Mrs. Keeley for the clearness 
of her utterance. As an instance of her cleverness 

192 



BURLESQUE 

in saying a risky word without a hint of coarseness, I 
cited her Aladdin (from a rather faulty memory) : — 

' I pegged my pegtop on my tutor's toes : 
His arm descended while his anger rose. 
'Twas not upon my top his vengeance fell, 
Nor did he " kiss the place to make it well ! " * 

Then we recalled the solemn entrance of her husband, 
as Prince Aladdin's Ambassador, knocking boldly at 
the palace door, and astonishing the gorgeous footman 
by the question, ' Emperor at home ? ' delivered in 
a manner of inimitable dignity and impudence." 

That is all very well, but we who, in later years, were 
blessed with a Nelhe Farren, an Edward Terry, a Fred 
Leslie, and a Royce, will be slow, I think, to admit 
that anything that happened in burlesque before the 
seventies, so far at least as the actors were concerned, 
was inimitable. In respect of the writing of burlesques 
Shirley was nearer the mark, and we must all regret the 
days when, in his own words, there were " not only 
people who could act burlesques, but also people who 
could write them." 

In the following letter "the patriot, Digby Seymour," 
refers to the sitting member for Southampton, whose 
commercial transactions, for which he had been cen- 
sured by the benchers of the Middle Temple, had not 
escaped Punch's eagle eye. ** Fisk's " was, and 
perhaps still is, a well-known Southampton public- 
house. " The Show " was the second of our Inter- 
national Exhibitions, held on this occasion at South 
Kensington. The domes and some other parts of the 
structure were eventually re-erected in the Alexandra 

193 

X4— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Park, MusweU Hill. " W. M. T.'s very fine dinner " 
was a Punch dinner, held by special invitation at 
Thackeray's new house on Palace Green on July 9th. 
Mr. Silver remembers that their host, after showing 
them round said, with not unnatural pride : — 

" This house and all the things in it have somehow 
come to me out of my inkstand." 

Only one more Punch dinner was held there, on July 
22nd of the following year, when Mr. Silver recorded 
in his diary, " conversation was subdued and not re- 
markable for brilliance." Shirley, it is true, raised a 
laugh by declaring that Shakespeare had proclaimed 
" Ponny " Mayhew's quality in the line : 

" The Prince of Darkness is a gentleman ; Modo he's called 
and Mahu," 

but that seems to have been the best thing of the 

evening. It would almost seem that impending sorrow 

was already casting its shadow over the house which was 

so soon to mourn the loss of its noble-hearted master. 

The " bit of Walter Scott about the Rifle Match " 

referred to verses entitled " The Battle of Wimbledon," 

in which Shirley jubilantly recorded how the English 

team had turned the tables on the Scots : — 

" But calmly England stood and shot 
■ • • And sternly snuffed out every Scot 
Who tried the desperate game, 
For Halford sent the fatal lead, 
And Heaton put his foes to bed, 
And Halliday unceasing sped 
His balls with matchless aim." 

Finally the scores stood at 890 to 724, and England 
had had her revenge. 

194 



INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION (1862) 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, N.W., 

" S. Swithin, '62. 

[July ISth.] 

" My dear Leigh, 

" No, not bloater, but ham and eggs, but the moral 
is the same. I was very glad to hear from you, not 
knowing but that the patriot, Digby Seymour, might 
have avenged upon you any little freedom of old 
Punch's by debauching the young lady at Fisk's into 
poisoning your beer. 

*' No news. I have had to do with the Show twice 
in three days, having Scottish cousins with me. On 
Saturday we went among the Swells, and yesterday 
among the Rabble — the contrast (dress apart) very 
noteworthy. The Swells are, generally speaking, 
handsome, and they lounged, evidently in a state of 
enjoyment of a lofty kind, smiled, and went away 
self-complacent ; the people are as a rule ugly, they 
looked careworn and cross, but they did everything 
at a hand-gallop, and towards five were utterly beaten 
and miserable, giving the most vacant stares at the few 
remaining sights. There were about 10,000 babies in 
the place, and when the organ stopped you could 
distinctly hear the sound of their sucking. Many 
children lost, but the police quite understand the busi- 
ness and walk off the roaring little creatures until their 
parents gradually attain to a conviction that by asking 
a few questions they may recover their live bundles. 
Altogether there was matter for scribble, which I 
suppose to be the final cause of all that is done and said 
in these days. 

" W. M. T. gave us a very fine dinner, for your com- 
fort be it mentioned : turtle, venison pasty, salmon 

195 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

cold, turbot hot, aspic, and all the rest of it, stunning 
claret, and ninepenny weeds. He has fine large rooms. 
I think we were a little ' melancholy and gentleman- 
like,' and we invented a cut for the disparagement of 
the vulgarian Cobden, as became Kensington garden- 
ers.* Leech will have a fine old house at Kensington, 
with half-an-acre of garden. A friend of mine would 
have taken the house, but there were more big drawing- 
rooms than he could utilise. So J. L. can make an 
out and out studio. 

" I have seen nobody since the end of the week, of 
our lot, except Pater, at the Show. I suppose we eat 
to-morrow. I did a bit of Walter Scott about the 
rifle match, for P.P. at the last moment. I was looking 
at Callcott'sf ' Southampton Water ' yesterday and 
thought of you. rus ! etc. 

" Kindest regards to your brother and Mrs. Leigh. 

" Ever yours, 

"S. B." 

The " not even cut " episode of his last novel might 
well have fixed Shirley's determination to be done with 
publication by instalments, and show the world and 
his friends of what he was really capable as an artist 
and not as a mere mechanic. But the publishers and 
the res angusta domi were against him. The first knew 
what paid them best and the last was calling louder 
and louder for relief. Thus it was that he again 
succumbed, though not without insisting to some extent 
on his rights as an artist, to the importunity of his 

* Vide " The Old Sentinel," in which Palmerston is depicted 
catching Cobden pouring water into the touch-holes of the English 
cannon. Pam {loquitur), " Don't you meddle with things you don't 
understand, young feller." 

t Sir A. W. CaUcott. 

196 



"SOONER OR LATER" 

friends Bradbury & Evans to write them a serial 
novel. Fourteen monthly numbers was the contract, 
but he demanded an extension when he found himself 
too much restricted. As a result " Sooner or Later " 
shows great advance upon its forerunners and proves 
that, had he devoted himself to this class of literature, 
he might well have taken high rank amongst the 
novelists of the period. After running for about 
eighteen months it was published in book form, 
illustrated by his friend George du Maurier.* 

The story is far more closely knit than its prede- 
cessors. The plot is strong, the characterisation good, 
the conversation witty and well-sustained, giving plea- 
sure by its ingenuity and allusiveness apart from its 
value in expediting the catastrophe. Perhaps the 
most amusing part of the book is that where he uses 
his own editorial experiences in his description of 
Mangles, the editor of the Vivisector, and Mr. Pruth, 
his assistant. We still laugh ruefully at, because we 
still suffer from, the same " thorns in the cushion." 
There is the lady who demands a kind review of her 
poems because her second cousin was tried by a court- 
martial in India, of which the editor's father was a 
member. And there is the gentleman who asks for 
a puff of a play on the ground that the author and 
himself were vaccinated from the same child. There, 
of course, we have an adumbration of Dickens's 
exaggerative manner, but we laugh and that is the 
important thing. 

* I am told that the family now uses the capital (Du Maurier), 
but the artist in writing to me used the little " d," 

197 . . 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

It must not be concluded, however, that because 
there is a good deal of comic relief the novel as a whole 
is written on the frivolous plane. Indeed, he got into 
the same trouble as Thackeray did with " Pendennis." 
It was complained that he had dared to give an un- 
varnished account of the life of a young man about 
town. To this he replied that he refused to be a party 
to " the mockery of escaping into generalities, which 
mean nothing to those unacquainted with evil, and are 
laughed at by those who are less fortunate." Again, 
he was accused of " unfriendliness to what is not 
improperly called the religious world." To this he 
retorted that the charge had been made " without 
sufhcient attention to the entire bearing of the work, 
and notably without regard to the character in which 
is embodied the best form of religion which the author 
can typify." 

The book closes with a notable passage in which he 
claims for the newspaper the part which has in the past 
been filled by the poets who " have worked and gone." 
A new journalistic dynasty has been founded, truthful, 
scholarly, and fearless, which is as salt to the sea, and 
keeps society from becoming as " the gilded puddle 
the beasts would cough at." This new journahsm is, 
he says, compact of catholic recognition and non- 
insular postulates " which are already a religion 
lacking neither its priests nor its sacrifices." It asks 
no plaudits. It dreads popularity as a proof of 
weakness. " Some of us," he concludes, " who have 
perhaps looked doubtfully on and listened moodily (to) 
evil which forces itself on eye and ear, and have felt 

198 



LITERATURE IN PARADISE 

that ' but to think is to be fuU of sorrow/ have been 
helped ... to maintain the behef that a day will 
dawn in which this Lazarus of a world will hear the 
words of power that came to the brother of her who sat 
still in the house." That is nobly put. That is a high 
and splendid ideal of journalism, often enough 
expressed, but how often woefully abandoned in the 
upshot. 

As to the fate of his novels Shirley himself had, 
I think, no illusions. 

" One day," Mr. Silver tells me, " he said he won- 
dered whether among the joys awaiting us in Paradise 
there would be found time for the leisurely perusal 
of good literature, unread in our hard-working and 
overcrowded days on earth. 

" Leigh pressed him for the list of volumes he would 
choose. But Shirley protested that it was not possible 
to prepare off-hand a catalogue for the immortal 
library. He was clearly of opinion that not more 
than three English novelists (himself of course not 
among them) should be included. Of one thing, 
however, he felt certain, and that was, that no little 
of the current literature of the day (save the mark !) 
would be forced as a torture on the denizens of ' the 
other place ' ! " 

And I must confess that, if Shirley Brooks's earlier 
novels are to be found in the Plutonian library, that is 
another reason why I, for one, must take care to be 
good. 

The following letter shows that there was some 
delay in the completion of the novel for publication in 

199 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

book form, and some resulting friction with his friends, 
the pubUshers : — 

S. B. TO Messrs, Bradbury & Evans. 
" 20 BouvERiE Street, E.C., 

" Nov. 29th, 1862. 

" My dear B. & E., 

"It is with sincere regret that I am obHged to 
answer your letter by saying that though I am exceed- 
ingly hard at work on the book, and that it is the one 
business of my days, it is not as yet in a state to be put 
into your hands. You will, I know, accept in all faith 
the assurance of an old friend, that the delay arises 
simply from his resolution that the work shall be as 
good as he can make it, and consequently as valuable 
to all of us, and also that I am much grieved and 
disappointed at the delay. But I am so convinced 
that you are aware of my feelings on the subject that 
I will not enter, at all events in writing, into them, 
but will only request that you will regard my position 
from a business as well as from a friendly point of view, 
and believe that the moment that I can place the MS. 
in your hands, I shall do so with more gratification 
than I can express. I have re-composed much of the 
book, by which I feel that it is a great gainer, and when 
it is out I will show you in an hour's confidential talk 
the ample vindication of the delay. 

" Meantime, believe me, 

" Ever, my dear B. &. E., 

" Yours most truly, 
" Shirley Brooks. 
" W. Bradbury] 

and j-Esqs." 
" F. M. Evans. J 

In a former chapter we have considered Shirley 
as verse-maker. We have now from time to time 

200 



TRICK-WRITING 

considered him as novelist and found him wanting. One 
reason for this was, as has been said, the exigencies of 
serial pubHcation. But there is, I think, another 
reason not far to seek. It was Shirley, the verse-maker, 
who went far to ruin Shirley, the novelist. For I make 
bold to maintain that the habit of versifying is in itself 
antagonistic to the clear thinking that we want in 
good prose. Pure thought is the primary occupation 
of the mind. Then the conveyance of that thought 
by the very clumsy vehicle, language. So, when we 
say to the thinker, " Make us verses," we say in effect : 
" We fully recognise the clumsiness of your medium, 
but we insist on your handicapping yourself in its use 
by cutting it into given lengths and decorating it with 
rhymes." Just as we might say to the butler, " Open 
the door as quietly as you can, but don't omit to turn 
a somersault as you turn the handle." The result is 
we not only get the door opened noisily, but we get 
the somersault turned inadequately. Sense and 
rhyme, both beautiful things when left unwedded, are 
warring the one against the other. The wedding of 
them presents a task only to be tackled by the greatest. 
That, I think, is why, in these practical days, verse- 
writing is a drug in the market. We want inspired 
sense. We do not want trick- writing. That has 
been done as well as it can be done in the past. Its 
day is over. 

But when Shirley Brooks lived there was a great 
love of rhyming in England, and it had a disastrous 
effect on him as a writer of prose. The man who is 
for ever on the look-out for rhymes is training himself 

201 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

to a fatal topsy-turveydom. Where there should first 
be the thought, then the clothing of it in language, the 
rhymester first thinks of words, then of the thoughts 
suggested by those words. Or, if the thought does 
come first, it gets emasculated by being fitted in between 
words that rhyme. Verse may, I admit, give the 
thought a glamour which mere prose would not, but 
that glamour is as likely as not to hide the thought's 
poverty. 

And there is more than this. Our rhymester is 
for ever being led away at tangents by thoughts 
suggested by his rhymes. He does not first catch this 
thought and forthwith imprison it in language, but in 
his search for bars he catches sight of a dozen thoughts 
and goes hunting them through a maze of pretty 
enough words and never catching anything at all. 
He just gets hold of them by their tails and then loses 
them. This is bad in itself, but it is worse in its 
consequences. Like journalism, it loosens a man's 
habit of mind. Like journalism, it makes him think 
in snippets. Like journahsm, it unfits him for the 
prolonged, continuous, steady mental effort necessary 
to the production of a well-balanced book. The part 
comes to be of greater importance than the whole. 

So we find that there were three Shirley Brookses 
standing in the path of Shirley Brooks, the novelist. 
First, there was Shirley Brooks, the journaUst. 
Secondly, there was Shirley Brooks, the serial-writer. 
Thirdly, there was Shirley Brooks, the versifier and 
rhymester. And the greatest of these three was the 
last. 

202 



'' LIMERICKS " 

Apropos of which we may remember the words 
which Mr. Thomas Hardy puts into the mouth of 
Henry Knight, in "A Pair of Blue Eyes," when 
asked by Elf ride why he doesn't write a novel. " We 
all," he says, " have our one cruse of energy given 
us to make the best of. And where that energy has 
leaked away week by week, quarter by quarter . . . 
there is not enough dammed back behind the mill 
at any given period to supply the quantum a com- 
plete book on any subject requires. Then there is 
the self-confidence and waiting power. Where quick 
results have grown customary, they are fatal to a 
lively faith in the future." 

At the beginning of 1869 Shirley began contributing 
to Punch a series of " Nursery Rhymes," now better 
known as " Limericks." Many of these were charm- 
ingly illustrated by Charles Keene and du Maurier. 
They were, according to a note appended to the title, 
" to be continued until every town in the kingdom had 
been immortalized," but, although he showed by 
choosing such difficult names as Carshalton, Cirencester, 
and such like that no rhyme was difficult enough to 
daunt his ingenuity, they did not run to a greater 
number than thirty-eight. The following, which has 
point in more senses than one, may be given as a good 
example : — 

" There was a young lady of Cheadle, 
Who was deeply beloved by the beadle, 

But she scoffed at his prayer, 

Left her work on his chair 
And the beadle sat down on the needle ! " 

203 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

I have spoken of Shirley's love for children and how 
he was at his best with a crowd of them around him 
listening round-eyed to his favourite " Jabberwock." 
And in this he was not singular amongst the Punch men. 
I should like to enlarge upon this tender characteristic 
of the remarkable men who have made Punch what he 
is. But this would be going outside my province.* 
One thing I may do, however : I may quote from Mr. 
Silver's unpublished records a pretty enough picture, 
in which Shirley is one of the prominent figures : 

" Leech," says Mr. Silver, " had lately fled from the 
barrel-organ fiends infesting Brunswick Square, to the 
fine old house which Millais had found for him in 
Kensington ; and thither we were bidden on Wednes- 
day the 25th of February to his little fair-haired 
daughter's birthday party. Ada would be nine years 
old, and she was her father's special favourite ; although 
her coming to the world had cost him a day's hunting. 
For just before her birth he and Millais, who rode often 
with him, had just pulled on their hunting boots and 
were waiting for their horses, when suddenly the nurse 
summoned him to go off for the doctor ! 

" I came a little late on the evening of the party, 
and found Shirley standing at the door of the front 
drawing-room. 

" Look," said he, " the Guildhall's come to 
Kensington. There stands Gog and Magog ! " 

" The older guests, the * grown-ups ' as they're 
called now, were gathered in the front room ; and in 
the other, which was larger, were the children dancing. 
At the corners facing us, and towering above the little 

* Besides which, is it not well written in the Xlllth chapter of 
the " Chronicles " of Mr. M. H. Spielmann ? 

204 



"ZAMIEL'S OWL" 

dancers, stood Thackeray and ' Big ' Higgins of the 
Times ^ the famous ' Jacob Omnium.' They were both 
of them four inches more than six feet high, and were 
ahke benignly smihng on the merrymakers. It was 
a pretty scene, and when I told the happy hostess of 
Shirley's happy thought, she promised ' John ' should 
make a sketch of it. But I fear he never did so." 

This year James Davison, the well-known musical 
critic of the Times, started in the Musical World, of 
which he was editor, a strange sort of go-as-you-please 
correspondence column, to which he himself contributed 
under a variety of aliases, and Shirley Brooks, who was 
one of his intimate friends, under that of "Zamiel's 
Owl." * 

There had been for years an interchange of amenities 
between the two papers. For example, when Davison 
married the great pianist, Arabella Goddard, in 1859, 
Shirley had written in Punch : — 

" AD ARABELLAM. 

" A Fact, long known to him, kind Punch may be 
Allowed to congratulate his rara avis on. 
Joy to the Lady of the keys ! From G 
The music of her life's transposed to D, 
And Arabella Goddard's Mrs. Davison. f " 

From 1863 to the end of his life Shirley con- 
tributed to Davison's paper, his last offering being 

* For this information I am indebted to my friend Mr. Charles L. 
Graves, who now sits at the immortal " Table." 

t Misprinted " Davidson " in " Wit and Humour." I quote the 
above from memory, and fancy I have improved upon Shirley's 
grammar. 

205 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

a friendly little puff of Arthur Cecil (Blunt). This 
appeared in the shape of a nursery rhyme in 
December, 1873. 

The year 1863, which had on the whole been an 
uneventful and happy one in Shirley's life, was destined 
to a gloomy ending. On Christmas Eve Thackeray 
died. " It was," wrote Shirley, " on a good day for 
himself, the journal and the world that Thackeray 
found Punch,'' and it was "as if the glory of Punch 
had been irremediably dimmed," when Shirley and 
fifteen thousand more of those who mourned the great 
satirist laid him to rest in the cemetery of Kensal 
Green. Thackeray, " the brave, true, honest gentle- 
man, whom no pen but his own could depict as those 
who knew him would desire," was gone, and the gaiety 
of nations was eclipsed. 

To Shirley, in common with all the Punch men, the 
blow was a heavy one, for though Thackeray had 
retired from the paper, he had continued in constant 
intercourse with his old colleagues. 

Shirley's part in doing honour to his memory con- 
sisted, Mrs. Ritchie reminds me, in acting as secretary 
to the fund for erecting the bust which now stands 
in Westminster Abbey — an office which was no sinecure 
in the case of one who, like Shirley, did what had to be 
done with his own hands. Here are three subsequent 
entries in his diaries, from which it is plain that it 
was easier to get promises of support than to see 
those [promises realised, and that the whole burden 
of the matter rested on the honorary secretary's 
shoulders. 

206 



THACKERAY'S BUST 

" Nov. 21 St, 1865. 

" Two o'clock. Have just returned with E. from 
the Abbey, where, at twelve to-day, Baron Marochetti 
removed the covering from the bust of 

' W. M. T.; 

in the presence of the daughters, his baroness, and 
ourselves. The Dean, Stanley, came in later. So, 
I have done my work for my friend and I am rejoiced 
thereat. S. B." 

" March 3rd, 1869. 

" Looked into the Abbey, to see bust of W. M. T., 
which I have not seen since Macaulay's was put next. 
Looks, now, as if part of the place, and I rejoice in my 
work, for ' alone I did it.* " 

" April leth, 1869. 

(Three-and-a-half years after the bust had been 
unveiled !) 

" Sent Farrer & Ouvry cheque for £100 balance due 
to Marochetti's executors, and thus disposed of a 
matter that has given me more trouble than I antici- 
pated, but I rejoice to have done a friend's duty by 
W. M. T. I am a deal out of pocket, but mean to have 
some back from those who ought to assist." 



207 



CHAPTER XII 

1864 — The Shakespeare Tercentenary — A Royal Recluse—-" Judy 
Parties " — Letters — The Autograph Fiend — The Anglo-Danish 
Question — Gout — Hymn to St. Trophimus — " Sooner or Later " 
— A " Breeze " with Messrs. Bradbury & Evans — Illness and 
Death of Leech — Advent of du Maurier to the Table. 




HE year 1864 marked the 
tercentenary of Shake- 
speare's birth, and " The 
Shakespeare National Com- 
mittee" contemplated 
gilding the lily, and painting 
the rose. From the following 
letter, as well as from much 
which appeared in the pages 
of Punch about this time, it 
is clear that Shirley had 
little sympathy with the 
movement. Hepworth 
Dixon, with whom he was afterwards on friendly 
terms, was at this time editor of the AthencBiim, 
the organ of the dominant executive of the " Fund," 
and Punch certainly did not mince matters in 
dealing with him and his colleagues. He suggested 
that " The Shakespeare Incapablcs," as he called them, 
should perform a Shakespearian Shadow Pantomime, 
and continued : " We think one of the old women who 

208 



A HINT TO THE QUEEN 

sit on the Committee might be readily selected to take 
the part of columbine ; and there need surely be small 
labour in looking for a clown, when so many of the 
Committee have been known to play the fool." Finally, 
having thrown all the cold water he could on a national 
memorial, which one enthusiast proposed should take 
the form of a porcelain tower a hundred feet high " to 
enliven the scenery of the birthplace of the sweet 
Swan of Avon," Punch paid due homage to the 
immortal bard, by producing his own superb 
" Tercentenary Number." That is one of the many 
matters alluded to in the following letter. 

" Leah " refers to the American actress, Kate 
Josephine Bateman, who appeared 210 times in that 
role in the play of " Deborah " at the Adelphi. 

The " cut " referred to is that entitled " What the 
Nation hopes to see," which was prompted by the 
same motive which suggested Shirley's " Loyal 
Whisper to a Royal Recluse " : — 

" Nay, let my people see me." Kind 

Was she whom then our cheers were greeting ; 
Now, would that Lady bear in mind 

That words like those are worth repeating." 

The article, " What it is Coming To," was a skit 
upon the too great leniency shown towards criminals 
by the magistrates of the day. 

The " mangling of one Passmore Edwards " took 
place in an article entitled " A Mechanical Donkey." 

Under the title " Starvation Parties " in the same 
number Shirley advocated a simpler style of entertain- 
ment than was then in vogue, following the good 

209 

15— {2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

example set by the ladies of the Confederate States of 
America, amongst whom money was at that time very 
scarce. " Judy Parties " he proposed to call them, 
and continued: "Husbands will be found far more 
pliable, in the matter of party-giving, when wives 
point out that everybody has gone away pleased, and 
yet the cheque wanted for the expenses of the night is 
a very small one." 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" Monday, Jan. IQth, 1864. 

" My dear Professor, 

" Your note was very welcome — all your notes are. 
There is a beastly fog which penetrates to one's brains, 
and makes it impossible to write anything worth read- 
ing, so I shall go to the Shakespeare Committee, and 
do my duty in wrangling and hearing wrangle. I think 
the thing will come a cropper. I could not well be out 
of the business, when I have all along held that the 
idea of a memorial was foolish. The real memorial 
is in the fact that England thinks and talks Shake- 
speare. It would be almost as reasonable, to speak 
with due reverence, were we to propose to erect a 
memorial to the Author of the Bible, for fear He 
should be forgotten. I think, however, that Theodore 
Martin, Tom Taylor, and yours truly, who are like the 
Three Anabaptists in the ' Prophete,' have done a good 
deal in the way of hindering downright bosh, prize 
poems, ' special services,' and the like, and we are not 
without hope of showing the General Committee that 
there is no time to prepare a worthy memorial. The 
Mayor of Stratford called on me on Saturday, but 
missed me. I fancy he wants me to join them. I 
shall not, but their celebration is all very well, a jolly 
Shakespearian fete, as it were, with the ' Messiah/ by 

210 



THE BATEMANS 

way of infusing a little gravity into the business. 
Hepworth Dixon has been awfully sat upon. You 
will see that I continue to ' note ' the Thackeray 
matter. I hope you liked my memoir in the 
Illustrated, or did you see it ? If not I will send it to you. 

" My dear Leigh, I've nothing to tell you. We, 
that is my wife and me, dined with Leah, not Leech, 
though it looks like it.* He has returned to town last 
night, and when I tell you the party and the fare, you 
will see that there were materials for a pleasant evening. 
The Batemans are the nicest Americans I ever met, 
in fact quite English. She is not, I apprehend, very 
clever, except in her calling, but something better, 
and as merry as a bird. The mother is clever, and 
dramatised Evangeline for Kate, to Longfellow's 
satisfaction. They have constant relays of American 
food : yesterday we had wild turkey (noble bird), 
canvas-backed ducks (perfect), corn (Cobbett's), and 
hominy — you can't read that — Hominy. Very fine 
wines. To eat and drink and laugh came Oxenford, 
Webster, Robert Bell, Charley Kenney and his pretty 
wife, and us. Perhaps there were too many quinces 
in the apple-pie, for I think half a party ought to be 
fools, or silent, and everybody wanted to both talk 
and listen, which is a problem of difficult solution. 
But we were very merry from 5.30 to 12.30. 

" The cut this week will be the new baby and the 
Queen,] a hint to the Dowager Lady Guelph to come 
out. If you have any ideas for the next do send me 
a line on Tuesday night. The article * What it is 
Coming To ' is mine, and a Crawley bit. I have 
mangled one Passmore Edwards, who wrote Mark a 
frantic letter. I have advocated Judy parties, 

* Referring to his indistinct writing of the word, 
t Vide Punch for Jan. 23rd, 1864. 

211 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

modelled on our own. I mean some which the ladies 
of the Punch lot hold. Fred Evans's wife, Charley 
Dickens's, mine, etc. No dress, no wine, except sherry, 
but a pretty supper : beer, grog, baccy, and the ladies 
donH retire, and everybody does at 1 1 . Ask Mrs. Fred 
if that isn't sensible ? Have you heard this ? A man 
enters the law to get on, keeps in it to get honour, 
comes out of it to get honest. This to Fred, with all 
my regards. 

" Ever, 
"S. B." 

Next in order of date comes a letter, lent to me by 
Mr. W. L. Fleming, which may be recommended as a 
model reply to the autograph hunter : — 

S. B. TO A. Vogue. 

" Regent's Park, 

" Whit-Tuesday, 1864. 

" Sir, 

" I am happy to hear that I have so many good 
quahties, as you assign to me, and I am, in addition, 

" Your obedient servant, 

" Shirley Brooks. 
"iA. Vogue, Esq." 

" Although Shirley was always a most welcome guest 
elsewhere," writes Mr. Silver, " he very seldom missed 
a dinner at the Punch Table. His first absence through 
ill-health occurred in 'sixty-four, on the 20th of April, 
when Mr. Punch received his friends in Bouverie 
Street as usual, after giving them a luncheon in St. 
Bride's Court, Fleet Street, to welcome Garibaldi on his 
visit to the City. On the following Wednesday Mark 
showed a note from Shirley, saying that he was ' full 
of morphia and misery,' and that ' Pater must let you 
fellows have some of what he calls champagne that you 

212 



THE DANO-GERMAN QUESTION 

may drink to my good health, for I shall be forty-nine 
next Friday.' 

" Christian Science was unknown in those unenlight- 
ened days, or its professors might have claimed that 
our good wishes helped to cure him. For in the next 
week he rejoined us, and made several good shots at 
the Big Cut. One of the best was ' Gulliver John Bull 
Capturing the Austrian Ships,' which had arrived in the 
Downs, where our Channel Fleet was watching. This, 
however, he amended to ' The Burglars and the 
Bobby,' a title which gave place to ' The Aggravated 
Policeman ' — Mr. Bull threatening Austria and 
.Prussia, who had broken into Denmark, and who, as 
Shirley next week added (by reason of the armistice) 
were ' remanded for a month.' " 

The Dano-German question was now causing great 
anxiety in this country. The Austrian and Prussian 
allied forces had invaded Denmark, and England was 
threatening to send a fleet to the Baltic to insist upon 
the maintenance of Danish security and independence. 
But the Government at the last moment refused to take 
the responsibility of plunging the country into war, 
and Punch decided to support the Government. This 
decision resulted in the fine cartoon by Tenniel, 
mentioned by Mr. Silver, in which John Bull, as 
Policeman Al, rather unsatisfactorily threatens the 
two burglars, Austria and Prussia, " You're not on our 
beat, you scamps, or I'd let you see." 

This non-possmnus view of the case was by no means 
popular in the country, more particularly because the 
outrage was being committed on the father of the then 
Princess of Wales, our present beloved Queen 
Alexandra. This fact was quaintly alluded to in the 

213 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Police Court Extraordinary " in Punch for the 
following week, where " two ruffianly looking person- 
ages of foreign appearance . . . were charged with an 
aggravated assault ... on a poor little Dane, 
Christian Glucksbourg, who, it was stated in the 
Court . . . has a daughter very respectably married in 
this country." 

The reference in Mr. Silver's note to " misery and 
morphia " shows that Shirley was already beginning 
to suffer from the recurrent attacks of gout, which 
punished him so severely for the remainder of his life. 
As time went on his sufferings became very acute, but 
he never allowed them to interfere with his work, when 
work was possible, perpetually rising superior to the 
depressing effects of the disease and its very drastic 
remedies. Indeed, he did not hesitate to turn into 
a joke for the amusement of the pubHc what was 
anything but a joke to himself. Tragedy and comedy 
were not far removed when he wrote his " Hymn to 
St, Trophimus," the saint whose bones repose in the 
church of St. Philip Neri, and are supposed to have the 
peculiar virtue of curing gout, lumbago and rheuma- 
tism. For the moment he changed his old pen-name 
of Epicurus Rotundus into Epicurus Arthriticus, and 
wrote with a wry enough face : — 

" Yes, culpa mea ! I have loved, and fear may love again, 

Hock, Sherry, Chabhs, Burgundy, Moselle, Yquem, Champagne, 
Lafitte, Old Port, Noyeau, Chartreuse, Madeira, Punch in Ice ; 
And golly ! good St. Trophimus, ain't Maraschino nice ? " 

And so he goes on through sixteen verses, praying 
desperately for relief, but ending up all unrepentant : — 

214 



"ODE TO ST. TROPHIMUS" 

" O cure me, dear St. Trophimus, and send me hack again 
To Hock, Moselle, and Burgundy, Y quern, Lafitte, Champagne." 

And, it must be confessed, these verses contained a 
chapter of his autobiography. He loved good eating 
and drinking, and, when he was well, forgot that he 
had been ill. He did what all of us do — he sowed his 
oats and trusted to Providence to see that they did not 
come to fruition. 

" Yes, mea magna culpa ! ' When the Turtle's voice is heard ' 
I always take three plates, not always stopping at the third : 
When other soups are going, and I'm puzzled to take which, 
Richesse oblige, I make a choice of that as looks most rich. 

:(c 3|e 4: 

" Truffles, St. Trophimus, I take in every given form, 
Enriching other viands, or in paste alone, and warm : 
They keep me humble, dear St. T., upon my word they do. 
They preach a lesson that a man's himself a fungus too." 

And then he completely gives himself away : — 

" I take but little exercise, it really seems so hard 

From honest gains a cabman should unkindly be debarred. 
♦ * * 

And I have gout, St. Trophimus, which makes me wince and roar, 
And wonder what I've done to earn a punishment so sore." 

Of course, he didn't wonder, he knew perfectly well, 
but he shut his eyes to consequences, and the gout 
and the truffles and the turtle-soup and the champagne 
and his sedentary life eventually killed him, as it is 
killing so many of us to-day. It was the old story 
over again : — 

" Indeed, indeed Repentance oft before 
I swore — but was I sober when I swore ? 
And then, and then came Spring, and Rose-in-hand 
My threadbare Penitence apieces tore." 
215 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

The following letter shows that Shirley's novel, 
" Sooner or Later," still hung fire, partly no doubt 
because of morphia and misery. " Pater " Evans had 
evidently given him a sharp reminder, and Shirley's 
nerves were a little on edge with overwork : — 

S. B. TO F. M. Evans. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, N.W., 
" April 28ih, '63. 

" My dear Evans, 

" I will not answer the question, what you ' can ' 
think, but I will say that what one expects a friend to 
think is that his friend having given a promise is doing 
his utmost to redeem it, and is not likely to be helped, 
in work demanding the best state of mind, by an 
implied imputation. 

" Lemon writes me, through another hand, that he is 
laid up with neuralgia in the eyes. If he telegraphs 
to me that he wishes me to attend and get up the large 
cut to-morrow, it will be my duty to do so, otherwise 
my next visit to B. Street would certainly not have 
preceded the delivery of the MS. 

" Yours very sincerely, 

" S. Brooks. 
" F. M. Evans, Esq." 

That Messrs. Bradbury & Evans with their usual 
generosity took no offence, as they might well have 
done, and treated him with all possible consideration, 
is evident from the following, written some months 
later. No doubt they were accustomed to the 
irritability of the genus author. 

216 



"SOONER OR LATER'* 

S. B. TO F. M. Evans. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, N.W., 
" August 1th, '63. 

" My dear Evans, 

" Though leaving town for work, I cannot go 
without addressing a line to Bradbury and yourself 
on a subject which occupies me by day and by night. 
It shall be little more than a line, because I hope very 
soon to send you what will be more acceptable. I will 
not, in writing, enter into the disturbing causes which 
have hindered the completion of my book, but when 
I say that some painful family matters, not affecting 
ourselves except indirectly, but most vexatious and 
irritating, and requiring perpetual interference, 
' cropped up ' at the moment when I thought all 
smooth, you will both comprehend that though it was 
not necessary to ask your indulgence, I might have 
done so, had not your kindness made it unnecessary. 
I will tell you something of this, some day, when we 
three are together, and have nothing pleasanter to 
speak of. Meantime I am going away into a quiet 
retreat to work, and I hope to give a very good account 
of myself at an early date. The P. P.* book will testify 
that however continuous labour has been interrupted, 
I have never forgotten our friend P., and I shall send 
up regularly to Mark. 

" I hope to go on Thursday ; if I do not see you 
before, this is a handshake which I beg you to pass 
on to my friend Bradbury when you see him. 

" Believe me, dear Pater, 

" Yours ever faithfully, 
" Shirley Brooks. 
" F. M. Evans, Esq. 

* Punch Pocket-Book. 

217 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" P.S. — I will send you my exact address as soon as 
I know it. Let me add that I have «o doubt of handing 
you the complete MS. before the end of the year." 

Eventually, as we know, the novel got finished, and, 
after running serially, was pubhshed in book form in 
1868. 

On April the 7th Mr. Gladstone in his Budget speech, 
which Shirley described as " a magnificent intellectual 
effort," proposed a reduction of the Income Tax and 
Sugar Duties. The difficulty was to embody the 
subject in a cartoon. Shirley came out with the 
unfamiliar Shakespearian quotation : — 

" Vain flourish of my fortune ! 
Why strew'st thou sugar on that bottled spider, 
Whose deadly web ensnareth thee about ? " 

but Tenniel objected that there were limits to the 
suggestiveness even of his powerful pencil, and that 
to make a bottled spider look like the Income Tax was 
beyond the realms of Art ! 

At the next Punch dinner, as Shirley noted in his 
diary of that date, John Leech was " clearly ill." 
Later on Shirley recorded of this dinner : — 

" He complained of illness and pain, and I saw that 
it was difficult to make him grasp the meaning of 
things that were said to him without two or three 
repetitions. He left early with Tom Taylor." 

In the autumn Leech went to Whitby, whence he 
wrote to the Brookses that their joining him 
would induce him to prolong his stay. They started 
at once, determined that, if Whitby were benefiting 

218 



AT WHITBY 

his health, he should not leave it for lack of their 
companionship. 

At Whitby, where they remained until Leech 
returned to London, Shirley attended a concert at 
St. Hilda's Hall to hear Grisi, Mario, Sainton and his 
wife, and records in his diary : " Introduced to Grisi, 
who was in a vile temper." Of the entertainment he 
sent a characteristic account to the Musical World, 
concluding as follows : — 

" I was dressed in a black coat, waistcoat, and 
trowsers, white cravat, lavender gloves, and patent 
leather boots, and the little boys of Whitby, un- 
accustomed to such splendour, cheered me as I came 
out, privately and alone, to dip my beak in the gascon 
wine, that is, in some excellent beer, in which I now 
drink your health. 

** If you have another reporter, your own special, 
in the town (I saw two or three persons who looked 
disreputable and enthusiastic enough to be musical 
critics — or even dustmen), and he had kept sober and 
sent you a report, you need not print this. I do not 
care a horse's mamma whether you print it or not. 
But I had a delightful evening, and I do not care who 
knows it ; in fact, I wish everybody to know it, and 
that is why I write to yoiu: widely circulated (and 
widely yawned-over) journal. You have not been 
over civil to me, of late, which is very ungrateful. 
You may say, with an attempt at wit, that the owl 
was a baker's child, and therefore crusty. I believe 
that you could win the prize for the worst conundrum 
in any circus in Yorkshire. 

** Receive the assurance of my profound respect, 

" Ever yours, 
"Whitby." "Zamiel's Owl. 

219 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

On Oct. 3rd they were back in London, and a fort- 
night later Leech was in articulo. Here is the entry 
from the diary : — 

" I called at 27 Bouverie Street, and heard from 
Evans that he was very ill. We went off to the Terrace, 
Kensington. He was in bed, but no one seemed 
frightened, and there was a child's party — a small one. 
Mrs. Leech was in tears, but certainly had no reason 
to apprehend the worst. He would have seen us. 
We remained three-quarters of an hour or so, but an 
opiate had been given, so it was of course felt that he 
ought not to be disturbed." 

" At 7 o'clock that night," wrote Shirley in the 
Illustrated London News, " it pleased God to release 
him from sufferings so severe as even to make the 
brave, patient, enduring man say that they were almost 
more than he could bear." And on Sunday, October 
30th, " After hearing all he (Evans) could say, I went 
with him to telegraph to Mark Lemon, and also to 
Leech's. Millais and Leigh at the door. Heard much 
from them. Mrs. Chester came up. Charles Eaton, 
Mrs. Leech's brother and best friend, had come. We 
went in and saw him. . . . He looked noble in his 
calm ; the hair and whiskers put back gave up his 
fine forehead and handsome features, and the eternal 
stillness gave his face an elevated expression. I looked 
a very long time on my old friend's face. We had 
known one another many years, and he has been 
engaged with me in business as well as pleasure. He 
was very kind, very good, and is in heaven, whatever 
that means." 

This was followed on Nov. 12th by Shirley's public 
eulogy in the pages of the periodical which Leech had 
so well and truly served. 

220 



DEATH OF LEECH 

" John Leech. 

'* Obiit October XXIX, MDCCCLXIV. 

" .Etat 46. 

" The simplest words are best where all words are 
vain. Ten days ago a great artist, in the noon of life, 
and with his glorious mental faculties in full power, 
but with the shade of physical infirmity darkening 
upon him, took his accustomed place among friends 
who have this day (Nov. 4th) held his pall. Some of 
them had been fellow-workers with him for a quarter- 
of-a-century, others for fewer years ; but to know him 
well was to love him dearty, and all in whose name these 
lines are written mourn as for a brother. His monu- 
ment is in the volumes of which this is one sad leaf, 
and in a hundred works which at this hour few will 
remember more easily than those who have just left 
his grave. While society, whose every phase he has 
illustrated with a truth, a grace, and a tenderness 
heretofore unknown to satiric art, gladly and proudly 
takes charge of his fame, they, whose pride in the 
genius of a great associate was equalled by their 
affection for an attached friend, would leave on record 
that they have known no kindlier, more refined, or 
more generous nature than that of him who has been 
thus early called to his rest." 

That was a proper tribute to one who during twenty- 
three years had contributed no fewer than three 
thousand drawings to Punch, of which at least six 
hundred were cartoons, and whose pencil had never 
suggested an impure thought or lent itself to the 
rousing of unkindly passion. " The good ship had," 
in Shirley's own words, " lost its mainsail," and all 
with whom Leech had worked should surely vie one 
with the other to do him reverence. But that he was 

221 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

disappointed at the slackness in this respect of at least 
one of his colleagues is obvious from the following 
undated letter, the latter part of which would seem 
to refer to the surprising fact that Leech's death was 
passed over in silence by Once a Week, whose pages 
his work had so constantly brightened and adorned. 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" Saturday. 

" My dear Leigh, 

" (I write, however, at B. & E.'s, having just done.) 
I hope you are enjoying yourself. I can't say that 
I exactly are, having the vilest influenza, added to 
which, having steeped my senses in chlorodine, I came 
down here at 12 to-day, thinking there would be little 
or nothing to do, and find Stacy wants 4J columns, or 
the P.P.* can't come out. Que voulez-vous, the thing 
had to be done, and was done, but how ? Bishop and 
excursions. New York Herald, " Georges," Nursery 
Rhymes, etc., etc. Such is life. 

" That was a long puff of J. L., well deserved by him, 
but we ought to have had more said, as I imparted 
very frankly to the discomfited Lucas. f Mark is in 
the d — dest rage, and I think won't let L. come to any 
more dinners. 

" Kindest regards to Fred. I am too used up to 
send a story. 

" Ever, 

" S. B." 

When Leech's twenty-one coloured etchings from 
the Pocket-Books were re-published under the title of 

* Punch Pocket-Book. t Editor of Oncg a Week. 

222 



GEORGE DU MAURIER 

" The Follies of the Year," Shirley seized the oppor- 
tunity of associating his name with that of his dear 
friend, by contributing the descriptive letterpress which 
gives unity to these delightful productions. 

The vacancy at the Table caused by Leech's death 
was taken by George du Maurier, and Mr. Silver tells 
me that, on his first appearance, he made the Staff 
a little uncomfortable by referring to his blindness. 
After complaining that people were for ever calling him 
" de Maurier," and expressing the hope that the Punch 
men would give the devil his " du," he went on to 
remind them that he was blind of one eye, and begged 
them to pardon him if he failed at any time to " see " 
a subject that might be suggested for his pencil. 

" But," said Shirley, " Tenniel has only one eye left, 
and it really is the left, for he lost his right while fencing, 
whilst you have your right eye left. So you see you 
two fellows have two good eyes between you, and a pair 
of good eyes are far better than a score of bad ones. 
In the country of the blind, you know, the one-eyed 
man is king, and here we're blind as bats — to one 
another's failings. So I drink to your good health, 
you two one-eyed royal Majesties." 

That was very characteristic of Shirley. Faced with 
an awkward situation — and the situation is always 
awkward when a man refers to any physical disability 
from which he may chance to suffer — his ready wit 
would at once respond to the necessity of saving the 
situation. It was part and parcel of his kind- 
heartedness — a kind-heartedness which mellowed and 
ripened the older he grew. And this mellowing of his 

223 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

character was very marked as the years went on. 
Without setting up to be a good man, he did not fail 
to discover what most good men discover, that Life is 
not nearly so complicated a thing as it at first appears. 
When we are young, things seem to be in an angry 
confusion. But as we grow older, that is, if our minds 
grow riper instead of more rotten, if our hearts remain 
sound though our bodies are decaying, things become 
simpler and we seem to catch glimpses of a well- 
intentioned plan. What that plan is we may not find, 
but that there is a plan, and a good one, seems probable. 
There seem to be causes and consequences, not chances 
and accidents. Great events are discovered to be very 
small events. Many little things prove themselves 
greater than the great things, because they have in them 
greater potentialities. The spark shot from a match, 
which sets a city on fire, is far more important than 
a bursting shell shot from a hundred-ton gun, which 
plunges into the sea. A great sermon of sixty minutes 
by Mr. Boanerges is no more likely to have an effect 
upon conduct than a well-placed jibe by Master Joseph 
Miller, which lasts just half as many seconds. You 
may perhaps beat sin out of your son, though I doubt 
it, with forty stripes save one. His mother will kiss 
it out with forty kisses save thirty-nine. You will do 
more by kindness in a minute than by harshness in a 
lifetime. But you do not learn this all at once, any 
more than you learn that a monkey has a man in him 
and a man a monkey in him. Shirley did not learn 
it at once just as Punch did not. In common they 
started life with rude and unmannerly jibes, as most 

224 



THE "PUNCH" TRADITION 

professional jesters do. At first they shot folly with 
a blunderbuss as it flew. Later they learned that to 
tickle it with a feather was just as effective. The older 
they grew the more they laughed, the less they sneered. 
The older they grew the more they sympathised, the 
less they despised. They found that love, kindness, 
goodwill were more worthy of cultivation than hate, 
indignation and cynicism. 

Thus they themselves grew gentler, kinder, more 
humane. They mellowed and ripened because their 
hearts were sound. They did not grow increasingly 
indignant with life like the Swifts, the Ruskins, the 
Carlyles. They grew increasingly indulgent because 
they learned that Life was not so angry a complication 
as it had seemed when they were young. So it has 
come about that Punch has developed a tradition of 
kindly tolerance towards men and things, a tradition 
for the building up of which more than a little thanks 
is due to the subject of this memoir. 

One more letter — a letter eloquent of the position 
which Shirley occupied amongst his colleagues and of 
the love which he bore to his chief — and the record of 
the year 1864 is complete. 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" Junelth (1864). 

" My dear Leigh, 

" It would much please dear old Mark, I am certain, 
if we, the writers and artists, gave him some trifle, pin, 
ring, or something, on the Silver Wedding. Let us 
subscribe a pound apiece. If you like, I will see to 

225 

i6— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

the very small trouble. Keep it to us (omitting the 
business element), and keep it quite dark till the day. 
May I put you down for £1 ? 

" Ever, 

" S. Brooks. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park." 



226 




CHAPTER XIII 

1 865 — The Diaries — The 
Christening of the Two 
Bo3^s — Death of Abraham 
Lincoln — Punch's Great 
Recantation and the 
Question of its Authorship. 

ENTION has been made in an earlier 
chapter of the fate of Shirley's papers and 
diaries, religiously preserved by him for the auto- 
biography which was never written, and, after his death, 
recklessly destroyed or cast to the four winds. 

It is a fact something more than tantalising to his 
biographer that Shirley began keeping a diary as early 
as the year 1852 ; that this he continued to do until 
the day of his death ; that but five of the precious 
volumes have escaped, or at least come to hand ; and 
that these five are not consecutive. Indeed, to follow 
out his life is like the following out of one of those buried 
rivers which here come to the surface for a while, and 
there bury themselves underground, only to reappear 
laden with the secrets of unrecoverable experience. 

Hawked about London after his death by one of his 
sons and sold for the few wretched shillings such things 
fetch, this invaluable series found itself scattered here 
and there, one year divorced from the next, on the 
shelves of this, that and the other old bookshop. 

227 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Two of these flotsam and jetsam of fate have come 
into the hands of Mr. Venning by purchase from a 
Brighton bookseller, and have been generously placed 
at my disposal. Three others have come into my own 
hands by purchase in Oxford Street, cheek by jowl with 
two of his unfortunate son's own diaries — the son on 
whose future Shirley had staked his highest hope, 
the son w^hose wasted life can be read between the lines 
of these melancholy pages. 

On the first of the boy's diaries, dated 1873, is 
written in Shirley's hand : — 

" To Reginald Shirley Brooks 

from his father. 

Nulla dies sine lifted." 

When these words were written the future was 
bright with hope. The blank sheets awaited the record 
of a life. Father and son were full of confidence. 
And at first the pages give evidence of good work and 
strenuous endeavour. But all too soon the canker 
of self-indulgence and irresponsibility shows up as we 
read between the lines. The petty triumphs of the 
billiard and card-table take the place of high ambitions 
and worthy emulations, and he who should have been 
master of his fate quickly exhibits himself the slave of 
his passions. One thing only was fortunate in the 
miserable business. Shirley by his comparatively 
early death was spared the sorrow of seeing the wreck- 
age of a life in which his hopes were centred, the rapid 
ruin of one on whom his affection had been so freely 
lavished. And we cannot but be thankful that he was 

228 



THE DIARY (1865) 

never destined to peruse those once white pages, now 
blotted with the miserable record of a wasted life. 

But this is anticipating. Now, in 1865, all was 
bright with promise. From Shirley's diary for this 
year, the first of those which have escaped the general 
destruction, we learn that the tide of his life was 
running strong and vigorously. The days are punc- 
tuated with " work for Punch,'' " work for Home News," 
" work for the Ilhistrated," " work for the G.M." 
(Gentleman's Magazine), " work for the Era." Every- 
thing is subordinated to this. Here was a man, if 
ever there was one, who worked with no faltering. 

That he enjoyed is equally evident. Just as he 
threw his whole soul into his work when he was at it, 
so too, when he could lay it aside, he threw his whole 
soul into his pleasures and the pleasures of others. 

There was his dinner table, which, like Crabbe 
Robinson, he " diarized," making diagrams and placing 
the diners' names in the order in which they sat round 
his hospitable board. And there were other people's 
dinner-tables which he diarized in the same way, with 
shrewd and humorous notes of the guests added below. 

By the time this first of the diaries, which has escaped, 
was written, it had pleased him to discover in himself 
a likeness to the greatest of all diarists, and it amused 
him to play at being a modern edition of his great 
prototype. Here are a few examples which will show 
him at the game : — 

On Jan. 21th, 1869, " Bessy Dickens came to ask 
us to sup on sprats and tripe on Friday. That reads a 
jolly Pepysian entry." 

229 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

On Jan. 30th. " To-day did I, Samuel Pepys, 
drawing mine own cheque on mine own banker, pay 
my assurance, out of mine own savings. But this 
leaves me scant and I must get more." 

On August I8th, 1869, during a holiday in Wales, 
" Began to smoke Latakia, and much liking it, stick to 
my pipe all through the tour, and shall, I think, 
continue it, for it's cheap. I spend much money on 
weeds. This Mr. Pepys notes with a solemnity worthy 
of the occasion." 

Again, Mrs. Shirley Brooks had insisted on his 
investing in the velvet coat, which he afterwards 
affected, and on Feb. 12th, 1871, he wrote, " Matthews, 
Torie and Jessy called, and Mr. Pepys exhibited him- 
self in his new velvets which methought did much 
content them." 

And on April 4th, 1871, "Elliott & Fry, photo- 
graphers (where C. Keene works at his art), having been 
asked by several for a better picture of Mr. Pepys, 
request him to sit again. He proposes to oblige them." 

That is, of course, a small matter, but characteristic of 
a man who loved conceits and dwelt much with fancies. 

Glancing through this diary again we catch vivid 
glimpses of celebrities of the day with whom he is 
brought in contact. Here are a few casual references: 

Sir A. Duff-Gordon — " he is a good talker and very 
wide-awake." 

Fechter — " he underplayed Robert Macaire, trying 
to be a gentleman, but there was some line by-play." 

Marochetti — " whose bust of W. M. T. I do not think 
frappant, but it grows on you." 

Mr, Justice Shee — " no good stories ; working 
lawyers are better than those who have reached 
Olympus ; nevertheless told me one about Mr. Justice 

230 



ALL SORTS AND CONDITIONS 

Williams, a colleague of Brougham's, ' who blew up 
an attorney who would make him call witnesses and 
thereby hung his client. " D — n you, go home, sell your 
puny chattels, cut your throat, and when you meet 
your client in hell, apologise to him, d — n you.' " 

Arthur Lewis — at whose house " good music . . . 
excellent supper, fine pictures, everybody there and 
do as you like." 

Frith — " who has done all that can be done with 
his great picture of the Prince of Wales's marriage, 
when a painter dares not do as Rubens did." 

Millais — " whose picture of a Roman taking leave 
of a British girl is one of the finest things I ever saw. 
The reality of love and grief nearly made me cry, 
and I am not hydraulic generally." 

Lord Egmont — " was at Trafalgar, not otherwise a 
remarkable lord." 

Sam. Warren — " told some good law stories and 
imitates well." 

Dr. John Spurgin — " who has had 20 children and 
wonE.'sheart by his kindly discourse onsuch creatures." 

Mrs. Lynn Linton — '* read and liked her novel, 
" Grasp your Nettle." 

Jeffreson — " the best American actor I have seen. 
. . . Repose, ease and absence of all trick." 

Landseer — " talked much, but wants his innings to 
himself." 

Sterndale Bennett — " always glad to see him'' 

Sutherland Edwards — " like him much." 

From which we gather that he rubbed shoulders with 
men and women of all sorts and conditions, keeping 
eyes and ears open for anything worthy of record. 
But this is the mere froth of the diaries. They will 
yield much of more solid interest as we proceed with 
the consecutive narrative. 

231 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Amongst Shirley's intimates at this time was the late 
Dean Hole, who speaks in his " Memories " of 
" Brooks's quick, brilliant humour." For some reason 
or another, Reginald and Cecil, Shirley's two sons, 
had not yet been christened, although the one was just 
over, the other just under, ten years of age. At the 
beginning of this year a decision was come to to 
remedy the omission. Dean Hole was present and 
wrote as follows : — 

" I went, on Shirley's invitation, to the christening 
of his children, and Mark Lemon was there as one of 
the sponsors. Some of our friends professed to regard 
this arrangement with horror and indignation. They 
solemnly assured the father of the babe that they saw 
through his diabolical intentions ; that all London, 
including the suburbs, was crying shame upon him ; 
and that, after anxious deliberation, they thought it 
their duty to lay an information before the magistrates, 
and to demand the interference of the police. It was 
evident, they said, that in engaging Mr. Punch as a 
godfather — Punch, who habitually and daily assaulted 
babies, beat them about the head with a stick, and 
dashed them down upon the stones of the street — he, 
Shirley Brooks, was bent upon infanticide, and that 
they were unable in consequence to slecj) in their beds, 
terrified as they were by previsions of one, whom they 
had so dearly loved, appearing as Brooks, murderer, in 
Madame Tussaud's Chamber of Horrors ! 

" All things, nevertheless, were done with due 
reverence. ..." 

One is glad if this were so, for from Shirley's diary 
I am bound to confess a very different impression is 
left on the mind, and I cannot but think that in later 

232 



A CURIOUS CHRISTENING 

years he would have hesitated at rounding off so 
serious an occasion with such callous indifference 
to its real significance as is shown in his own 
account. If the thing were to be done at all, 
and meant anything other than the perfunctory 
performance of a meaningless rite, surely something 
better than plenty of champagne, a pantomime to 
follow, supper at the "Bedford" and home at half-past 
twelve, could have been devised to impress the 
solemnity of the occasion on the " young Christians ! " 

Charles Knight and Fred Evans stood as sponsors 
for Reginald. Mr. Matthews (of Messrs. Grindlay's), 
Robert Cooke and Mrs. Lemon (not Mark Lemon, as 
the Dean had it) for Cecil. 

Here is Shirley's account : — 

" Hole came late, but was present during most of the 
ceremony. R. was nervous and bit his lip. Cecil 
grave, but inclined to be comic. . . . Afterwards to 
the * Bedford.' There we lunched in the 'Dry den.' . . . 
The feast went merrily. I turned on plenty of cham- 
pagne. Charles Knight made a very nice speech to 
the health of the children, whom ' he would not call the 
Christians of the hour.' Afterwards E. and I and the 
young Christians went to see . . . ' Hop o' my Thumb ' 
at Drury Lane. . . . Back to ^Bedford' to supper. . . . 
Home about J past 12. So all went well. . . . And 
there was the end of the christening. D.G." 

Certainly the levity of the thing makes one shudder. 
At the same time we should not perhaps judge Shirley 
too harshly. The atmosphere in which he lived was 
not a religious one. More, the Church of England 
herself was, fifty years ago, lax and undisciplined in her 

233 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

ceremonial observances. The Oxford movement had not 
yet resulted in the seemliness of ceremonial which is now 
happily so marked a feature, not only of High Anglican 
but also of Evangelical churches. Indeed, I am re- 
minded that in those days it was quite the fashion 
after the even more solemn ceremony of Confirmation 
to hold what were called " Confirmation Balls," at 
which the girls would appear in their white dresses 
and dance until the day was young again ! That is 
happily repugnant to present-day feelings, and Shirley 
should perhaps hardly be blamed for a laxness, the 
responsibility for which rested on other shoulders. 

Again we turn over the pages of the neatly-written 
diary and catch vivid glimpses of the man and his 
surroundings. 

On the first day of January he reviews the pecuniary 
results of the past year. 

" Looking at my book, I find that I took earnings 
in hard cash in 1864 . . . £677 from Punch and other 
things. In all, with Punch, £82L Other earnings, 
which do not come to me, and £50 unpaid, make my 
work amount to £1,034 16s. 

" Now this is not a sufficient advance on what I have 
done in previous years. The novel ought to have been 
completed, and I have had advances on that, all of 
which, assurance business included, must, D.V., be 
settled in 1865. May I have health, brains, and 
perseverance therefor." 

" Jan, 4th. 

" E. [Mrs. Brooks] and the children to party at 
Ansdell's* — juvenile — everything capital. Our kids 

♦ Richard Ansdell, the well-known animal painter. 

234 



*'PALL MALL GAZETTE" 

much admired — specially Pig [Cecil], who was dancing 
with little Miss Millais. ' There go art and literature/ 
said somebody." 

On Jan. 5th he puts it on record that he has written 
his first " London Letter " for the Bristol Mirror, 
signing himself " A Templar."* This he continued to 
contribute weekly until October, no slight addition to 
his already voluminous output. 

"Jan. nth. 

" E. said to-night that she * had been happier for the 
last year than ever in her life, and could not desire to 
be more happy.' " 

" Jan. \Ath. 

" Telegram from M(ark) L(emon), who is ill, and 
I had to edit P(unch) P(ocket-Book), so at and about 
that all day." 
" Feh. 1th. 

" The first number of the Pall Mall Gazette appeared ; 
walked about in the wet mud till I got it. 

" Read Gazette aforesaid, which is said to be Smith's 
of the Cornhill, TroUope, Higgins (J. O.), Hannay, 
Helps, in it. Fearfully dull." 
" Feb. 8th. 

*' Shall I write down that, being in admirable health, 
and perfectly sober, mens sana in, etc., it came, like 
a flash across me that I am but 50 — that I ought to 
have more years of work before than behind me (for 
what was I really doing 20 years ago, 1845 ?), and that 
I ought to feel that I am beginning a new era ? I write 
it — and it will bear rough handling better than most 
impressions. Yet, the less we think subjectively, the 
better — I believe. Look at work and do it." 

* A nom de plume suggested by his working chambers, which were 
now at 5 Paper Buildings, Temple. 

235 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Feb. I9th. 

" Wrote the prologue for the Guards, and sent it to 
De Bathe." 

" Feb. 25th. 

" We went to the Bijou Theatre, where my prologue 
opened the evening. The Prince and Princess there, 
and all the cream of the cream. Mrs. Stirhng would 
have spoken it much better than Mrs. Wigan did. 
Spoke to several swells, and to Chas. Mathews. How 
I should have hked this bit of social glory ten years 
ago. Now, except that it pleases my wife, it is 
nothing." 

On Feb. 22nd he writes a long letter on " Crossing- 
Sweepers," to the Star, signing himself " Epicurus 
Rotundus," from which I quote a passage : — 

" I beg leave to protest against your championship 
of those abominable nuisances, the crossing-sweepers. 
Probably the writer of the article in your paper to-day 
rides to his work in an elegant brougham. His talents, 
misdirected in this instance, deserve that he should 
be able to do so. I, living in a suburb, walk to my 
work on double-soled shoes. There are 29 crossings 
between my door and the door of my chambers in the 
Temple. At every one of these is posted a dirty 
sentinel, who either smirks at me, grunts at me, holds 
a hat at me, whines to me from afar off, runs after me 
imploring me, scowls at me, or takes some other 
unpleasant means of begging. If I comply with his 
or her request, the smallest coin I can bestow is one 
halfpenny, and 29 halfpence (I go to work every day) 
multiphed by 6 make 7s. 3d. a week. Multiplied again 
by 50 (I get a fortnight at Gravesend) the sum 
approaches sublimity when compared to my income- 
tax. Moreover, Sir, I have charged nothing for back 

236 



LECTURING AT HULL 

fare, because when my work is done and I am not think- 
ing I am not so sensible of the persecution, and can 
answer with a cheerful commination." 

On March 13th he is at Hull lecturing on " An 
Evening with the Speaker," at the Royal Institute, 
drawing on the memories of his days passed in the 
Gallery of the House of Commons, and amusing his 
hearers by graphic and lively descriptions of the more 
prominent members, and their peculiarities. 

Here is his memorandum : — 

" Dine plainly at 3. Walk over town. Hull cer- 
tainly rhymes to dull. Noble church, gift statue of 
K. Wm. Ill, one of Wilberforce, small on a big column. 
Street called Land of Green Ginger. S. Warren* com- 
mitted a witness for naming it, thinking he was chaffing 
the Court. I rather liked the harbour ; it looked old 
and snug, and a place to sit in on an afternoon. New 
Holland, the name of the pier opposite, if you go up 
Grimsby way. Tea at 6. Dress, and to the Institute. 
Such a crowd at the door — had to get in as I could. 
The attendance larger than they had ever had — a 
laboratory had to be opened at my back, and all the 
standing room packed close. Great many women, 
some very pretty. An excellent audience — took all 
the points, and nobody stirred, though I gave them 
full measure." 

On April 13th, Hezekiah Linthicum Bateman, the 
actor, calls and asks him to dramatize " East Lynne " 
for " Katy " (Miss Bateman) to act in, but after much 
parleying nothing comes of it. 

* Author of " Ten Thousand a Year," and at this time Recorder 
of Hull. 

237 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" I did not wish, after abandoning stage writing so 
long, and making another kind of reputation, to return 
with an adaptation of a sensation novel, so I asked 
high terms, and the thing rode off, B. Webster saying 
that his son was doing or would do the thing." 

On May 24th he takes one of his rare ** whole 
holidays." 

" At ^ p. 10 with the Friths to Windsor. White 
Hart. To the Castle, where Frith got at Mr. Seabrook, 
the Inspector, who very kindly took us over every 
interesting part. I nor E. had been there before, 
and I was hugely delighted. I had no idea of the 
splendour and art-wealth of the place — it was worth 
going to see the Vandykes. We saw places into which 
the world is not allowed to go — Prince Consort's 
armoury (bullet that killed Nelson, and no end of 
relics), and the Gainsborough room with its gems, 
into which the Q. does not care that anybody shall be 
taken. Also nuptial and Lucina bowers of the 
Princesses — rooms rich but small. The corridor is 
glorious. I should like a week of free range in the 
place. Then we had 5 basins of mock turtle at a 
confectioner's, and smoked till the Yateses, Austin,* 
and Parkinson came. Then two carriages — one with 
two horses and postillion held, on box, the Lords 
Brooks and Yates, the Hon. Mesdames Brooks and 
Yates, Sir W. P. Frith and Cavalier Austin. To 
Burnham Beeches, where I have been once before. 
Wandered, and then to Stoke, to see the Elegy Church, 
and Gray's tomb. Home by 6 and dined at the hotel." 

So much, for the moment, of transient matters dealt 
with in the diary. We must now turn to a matter of 

* The present poet-laureate. 

238 



ABRAHAM LINCOLN 

history, upon which this httle volume throws a hght 
that has hitherto been lacking. 

On April 14th of this year (1865), Abraham Lincoln 
was foully assassinated. During the four preceding 
years Punch had assumed what one cannot but describe 
as an exceedingly offensive attitude towards America, 
North and South alike. No opportunity had been 
missed of vaunting the superiority of England and 
things Enghsh over America and things American. 
Both parties in the Civil War had provoked his bitterest 
satire, his uncompromising hostility. And Shirley 
had been one of the worst offenders. In 1861 he had 
written " The National Hymn of the Confederate 
States," with the insulting refrain — 

" Rule Slaveownia, Slaveownia rules, and raves 
Christians ever, ever, ever shall be slaves." 

This he had followed in 1862 with " An American 
Lyric to Abraham Lincoln, on his demand for 300,000 
men," which ran as follows : — 

" We're coming, Father Abraam, we're coming all along, 
But don't you think you're coming it yourself a little strong ? 
Three hundred thousand might be called a pretty tidy figure, 
We've nearly sent you white enough, why don't you take the 
nigger ? 

" Consider, Father Abraam, and give the thing a thought, 
This war has just attained four times the longitude it ought ; 
And all the bills at Ninety Days as you have drawed so free 
Have been dishonoured, Abraam, as punctual as could be. 

" We've fought, old Father Abraam, and fought uncommon bold. 
And gained amazing victories, or so at least we're told ; 
And having whipped the rebels for a twelvemonth and a day, 
We nearly found 'em liquoring in Washington in May. 

239 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Now really, Father Abraam, this here's the extra ounce, 
And we are almost sick, you sec, of such almighty bounce ; 
We ain't afraid of being killed at proper times and seasons, 
But it's aggravating to be killed for Mac's* strategic reasons. 

" If you'd be so obliging. Father Abraam, as to write 
To any foreign potentate, and put the thing polite. 
And make him loan a general as knows the way to lead, 
We'd come and list, Jerusalem and snakes ! we would indeed. 

" But as the matter stands, old Abe, we've this opinion, some, 
If you say Come, as citizens of course we're bound to come, 
But then we want to win, you see ; if Strategy prevents. 
We wish you'd use the nigger for these here experiments. 

" Hereditary bondsman, he should just be made to know 
He'd convenience us uncommon if he'd take and strike a blow. 
The man as will not fight for freedom isn't worth a cuss, 
And it's better using niggers up than citizens like us. 

" So, Father Abraam, if you please, in this here game of chess, 
You'd better take the black men against the white, I guess. 
And if you work the niggers off before Rebellion's slain. 
Which surely ain't respectable, — apply to us again." 

Later, when General Beauregard declared, in his 
proclamation to the South, that " unborn generations 
would rise up and call them blessed," Punch had 
caustically observed that, with proverbial inaccuracy, 
the reporters had omitted the general's concluding 
word, " rascals ! " 

These are but samples of what had been the practice 
of Punch during those terrible years during which a 
great nation, bound to England by the closest ties, 
had been in the awful throes of a mortal tragedy. 

* McCleUan 

240 



"PUNCH'S" GREAT RECANTATION 

It was the time for sympathy, not for satire. But 
Punch had made it the time for one of his great 
mistakes. 

And now came the appalHng news that the great 
President, just when the hour of his triumph had 
struck, was untimely dead at the hands of an assassin. 
Then were men's eyes opened to the real splendour of 
the man's character, the difficulty and glory of his 
achievement. It was a great opportunity for Ptmch 
to show of what mettle he was made, and he seized it. 
After all he was an honourable hunchback, and did not 
subscribe to that astounding dictum of Emerson's that 
" no sensible person ever made an apology." The 
thing must be done handsomely or not at all, and 
certainly his recantation was the amplest imaginable. 
" It was," says Olher in his " History of the United 
States," " a recantation perhaps the most extraordinary 
that has ever appeared in print." And certainly Punch 
did not spare himself. Retractation and self-abase- 
ment could surely not have been more complete. 
The words in which the recantation was made no doubt 
were rough and rugged, but they were instinct with 
generous shame and honest repentance. A great 
wrong had been done. A complete recantation must 
be made, and Mark Lemon evinced high moral courage 
in not shrinking from the responsibility. It was almost 
worth while to have been wrong to have the opportunity 
of making so honourable an amende. 

I have not space for more than the first six stanzas 
of a set of verses which should be turned up in the pages 
of Punch and read in their entirety. 

241 

17— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 

" Foully Assassinated April 14th, 1865. 

" You lay a wreath on murdered Lincoln's bier, 
You, who with mocking pencil wont to trace, 
Broad for the self-complacent British sneer. 

His length of shambling hmb, his furrowed face. 

" His gaunt, gnarled hands, his unkempt, bristling hair, 
His garb uncouth, his bearing ill at ease, 
His lack of all we prize as debonair, 

Of power or will to shine, of art to please. 

" You, whose smart pen backed up the pencil's laugh, 
Judging each step as though the way were plain : 
Reckless, so it could point its paragraph, 
Of chief's perplexity, or people's pain. 

" Beside this corj^se, that bears for winding-sheet 
The Stars and Stripes he lived to rear anew. 
Between the mourners at his head and feet. 
Say, scurril-j ester, is there room for you ? 
* * * 

" Yes, he had lived to shame me from my sneer, 
To lame my pencil, and confute my pen — 
To make me own this hind of princes peer, 
This rail-splitter a true-born king of men. 

" My shallow judgment I had learnt to rue, 
Noting how to occasion's height he rose, 
How his quaint wit, made home-truth seem more true. 
How, iron-like, his temper grew by blows." 

In America the verses, accompanying as they did 
Tenniel's noble cartoon of " Britannia Sympathising 
with Columbia," created a profound impression. One 
writer even went so far as to declare that they were 
largely instrumental in preventing the war between 
America and England which seemed imminent. Over- 
wrought nerves had been strained almost to snapping 

242 



"PUNCH'S" GREAT RECANTATION 

point by the hostile criticism of the sad-faced, loose- 
hmbed Yankee, whom America had learned to look 
on as her saviour. And it wanted but a little more to 
precipitate a catastrophe at which the world would 
have stood aghast — a sorry commentary on the boasted 
civilization and humanity of the nineteenth century. 
Happily it was averted, and who shall say what part 
was played by Punch's prompt and courageous atone- 
ment ? The sincerity, manliness, sympathy, and, above 
all, the humility of the verses spoke straight to the 
heart of a great nation, and soothed a wound which 
should never have been opened and which constant 
teasing had kept cruelly at the raw. Since that time 
Punch has, whilst reserving to himself the right of 
laughing at our cousins' foibles as at our own, steadily 
used his great influence for conciliation and kindly 
feeling, and has been instant in removing those mis- 
understandings which never should be allowed to exist 
between nations so nearly related by blood, and united 
at their best by a common noble ideal. 

The verses appeared on May 6th, and were as much 
discussed in England as in America. Here, I regret 
to say, they by no means met with universal approval. 
Indeed, as we shall see, the Punch staff was itself 
divided on the matter. Soon the quidnuncs were hard 
at work to discover their authorship. Some said they 
were Shirley's ; others that they were Tom Taylor's ; 
others that they were Alfred Tennyson's ! But Mr. 
Punch's Cabinet kept its own counsel, and, so far as 
the public was concerned, the question remained 
unanswered. 

243 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Thirty years later came Mr. Spielmann's " History 
of Punch," in which the matter was of necessity 
dealt with, and there the verses were attributed 
to Shirle\^ Brooks. Later the question was raised 
in the pages of Notes and Queries by Mr. A. J. 
Edmunds, of " The Historical Society of Pennsyl- 
vania," and their attribution to Tennyson again 
mentioned ! This was, of course, ridiculous, and in 
reply they were once more nailed to the mast as the 
work of Shirley Brooks. So the matter rested, until 
the writing of this biography became my business. 
Then a doubt arose in my mind, for I found that they 
had not been included in the selection from Shirley's 
Punch verse, published after his death under the title 
of " Wit and Humour." This was the more surprising 
since much of a very inferior nature was there to 
be found. In a fortunate moment I received a 
letter from Mr. George Dunlop, of the Kilmarnock 
Standard, an Abraham Lincoln enthusiast of many 
years' standing, in which he informed me that an 
edition of the letters and speeches of the great President 
was now being prepared in America, in which allusion 
would be made to the episode and the verses attributed 
to Tom Taylor, and would I, as Shirley's biographer, 
clear the matter up ? 

Thereupon the thing assumed a new importance. 
Mere assertion was not enough. Direct evidence was 
essential. But where to get it ? 

Then a curious thing happened. Immediately 
after receiving Mr. Dunlop's communication, there 
came into my hands quite unexpectedly Shirley's 

244 



"PUNCH" EATS HUMBLE PIE 

diary for 1865, the very year that was wanted, picked 
up by the veriest chance in the shop of a Brighton 
bookseller ! Of course there was no certainty even 
then that there would be any reference to the matter 
in its pages. Indeed, if the verses were his, they 
would after all be only in the ordinary course of his 
work, and, if they were not, well ! they were only in 
the course of somebody else's, and as likely as not 
would call for no special mention. But, as I turned 
the pages, hope ran high. On Feb. 15th he recorded 
'' D.P.P." (Dined with the Punch People), "Stood up 
for the Federals and their abolition of slavery, but the 
current of feeling in society, just now, is all against 
them, even to unfairness." 

That was so far satisfactory as showing that 
Shirley was in sympathy with the North, but it was 
not enough. 

What would the record for May have to say ? I 
confess to some considerable excitement as I turned the 
pages. There was nothing on May 6th, the date of 
the appearance of the verses, nor on the 7th, 8th, or 
9th. My last hope was the date of the next Punch 
dinner. May 10th. Imagine my feelings when I turned 
to that date and read : — 

" D(ined) Punch, all there. Let out my views 
against some verses on Lincoln in which T. T.* had 
not only made P. eat umbles pie but swallow dish and 
all. P. L.f and J. T.J with me." 

So there was the answer to the burning question in 
Shirley's own handwriting. So far indeed from being 

* Tom Taylor. f Percival Leigh. ^. John Tenniel. 

245 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

the writer of the verses, he most heartily condemned 
their pubUcation. In that case I find my man not on 
the side of the angels. He was, however, sound in his 
allegiance to the North and anti-slavery, for he recorded 
on the same day : — 

" Johnston has surrendered, and, thank God, the 
American war is over, and Slavery is abolished. 
I rejoice that no bravery of the South ever led me to 
waver in my hope and belief that the North would win." 

And the next day in his Bristol Times letter : — 

" Everybody must rejoice that the American war 
is v^irtually at an end. Johnston has now surrendered, 
and what remnants of Confederate armies may be left 
will scarcely be insane enough to incur the perils of 
a hopeless resistance. We cannot say that there is 
peace, but there is an end of war. And slavery is 
abolished. We had all hoped to see this abolition 
worked out peaceably, and by the shedding of treasure 
instead of blood, but Mars, not Mammon, was to be 
the presiding deity, and frightful the price has been. 
It is paid, however, and we can no longer play the 
Pharisee, and taunt our American brother with our 
superior virtue. The subject does not belong to my 
letter,^ but'iit|is one which no man can help speaking of. 
I wilP^simplycadd that I hear a general expression of 
satisfaction that the assassin of President Lincoln has 
been shot and thrown away, instead of being made the 
centre of a scene. Virginia will probably change the 
motto he polluted." 

That is all very well, but I confess I should have 
been better pleased to find him crying " Peccavi " 
with Mark Lemon and Tom Taylor, and more generous 
in his recognition of him of whom Whittier wrote : — 

246 



ABRAHAM LINCOLN 

" A Great and Providential Man. The world has 
seen few like him ! " 

A month later there is another entry which shows 
that the verses were still being discussed, and that the 
mis-statement was already on its way, which has now, 
after forty years, been run to earth, and we may hope 
finally disposed of. 

"June lOth. 

" Letter from Fred Sabine. . . . They attribute the 
Punch verses on Lincoln to me, a mistake whereof, 
as I would be stealing Kudos else, I must disabuse 
them." 

So much for Shirley's own written evidence which 
fell so opportunely into my hands. 

Later Mr. Silver at my request looked up his record 
of the aforesaid Punch dinner, and found the 
following : — 

" Shirley protests against Tom Taylor's lines on 
Lincoln. * Punch has not been blind and shallow,' he 
declared indignantly, ' and even if it had, we ought 
not to own it. Would you have written the lines, 
Leigh ? ' 

" ' I ! No, I should think not indeed,' says Leigh. 

" Thereupon Mark Lemon totally disagrees with 
them both. 

" ' The avowal,' he says, * that we have been a bit 
mistaken is manly and just.' " 

No doubt, the Punch people, in common with many 
others, had mistrusted Lincoln because of his first 
declaring that he would throw over the Slave question 
if thereby he could maintain the Union, and afterwards 
asserting that it was Slavery alone which had caused 

247 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

the war and its abolition that alone could finish it. 
But they had not gauged the appalling difficulty of the 
situation, which could only be judged as a whole, 
and not by what this or that man may have said at one 
time or another during the long-drawn-out and bitter 
controversy. 



248 



CHAPTER XIV 



1865 (continued) and 1866 — Health — Earnings — Work — The Leigh 
Murray Benefit — At Scarborough with the Friths — Punch's 
" Table Talk " — Death of Lord Palmerston — The Agnews — 
Lectures at Oswestry — The Year's Earnings — Letters to Mr. 
and Mrs. Frith — The Censorship of Plays — Artemus Ward — 
Letters to Percival Leigh — Punch's Golden Wedding — Governor 
Eyre — Boulogne — Dieppe — C. H. Bennett — Parting Kick to 
1866. 

AY, with its treacherous winds 

and hot sun, was barely over 

when Shirley was again laid 

up with a severe attack of 

gout, and wrote in his 

diary : — 

" Have had solemn 
palaver with Duplex* 
on matters which affect 
the nearest, and he says 
that on three conditions 
he will assure me 15 
years of nerves as they 
ought to be — which 
means a deal. The 
terms are : — 

1. Exercise, at least 
6 miles a day. 

2. Only one wine at 
a time. 

3. No tobacco. 




His doctor. 



249 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

The last item is a severe one, as I have got into the 
habit so much. But I am sure that he is right, and 
I have been so miserable that it would be absurd not 
to enter on the new course. I make no pledge, on 
principle, but I will try." 

He was burning the candle at both ends, and taking 
but little healthy recreation. As literary work in- 
creased, so did the social exigencies of life. Dinner 
parties, first nights at the theatre, late hours, put the 
finishing touch to long spells of arduous work, and 
exhausted nerves cried out, now for stimulants, now 
for narcotics. 

Bohemia was inhabited by Bohemians in those 
days, and Shirley was a true native. Now it has been 
captured by men whose tastes and habits have been 
formed at the public schools, or who at least have 
had their three years at Oxford or Cambridge. The 
difference is clearly put in a note which Sir Francis 
Burnand has kindly sent to me : — 

" I find it difficult," he writes, " to remember 
anything concerning Shirley Brooks that would be of 
general interest. As Eton boys say, ' I knew him at 
home,' but, even socially, he belonged to a previous 
generation of literary men, journalists and theatrical 
professionals which has very little in common with 
those of my own time and standing. Or it may have 
been that socially I myself had very little in common 
with them. Put it which way you will, certainly the 
habits and manners of Shirley and his contemporaries 
were not congenial to me. Shirley belonged to that 
period when journalism generally and the profession of 
lighter literature meant that no matter of business or 
pleasure could be discussed without it being made, 

250 



BOHEMIA 

at any time of the day or night, ' an excuse for a glass.' 
It was the same with most of Shirley's confreres at 
that time, the notable exception being Tom Taylor, 
who, as a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, had 
been associated with other men and other manners. 
Thackeray also was an exception in spite of his appre- 
ciation of Bohemia. But it was to the First Form 
Upper Remove in the Bohemian Public Schools that 
he belonged. Certainly within my recollection a 
considerable majority of the journalists and ' literary 
men * of my earlier times were decidedly convivial, 
and conviviality entered largely into their method of 
working. Like George Augustus Sala, sometimes his 
friend and sometimes his enemy, Shirley Brooks had 
* been through the mill,' which was decidedly not a 
water-mill, and their sentiments were those of Dick 
Swiveller, who, as Chairman of the Glorious ApoUos, 
proposed that * we might never want a friend or a bottle 
to give him.' They were not drunkards : they were 
not Teetotallers : they were simply Boozers. Occasion- 
ally fuddled and muddled, but rarely so far as to find 
Mr. Bob Sawyer's remedy essential to the regaining 
their ordinary common sense." 

That puts the case in a nutshell and needs little 
comment. Other days, other manners, and it is not 
for us to judge how far circumstances and temperament 
were excuses for continued self-indulgence. For there 
is no blinking the fact that the serious warning Shirley 
had received from his doctor had but little effect. 
Indeed, the imperative order " no tobacco " was 
actually but two days old when we find him dallying 
with the forbidden thing and writing in his diary : — 

" Had one cigar to comfort me, being Saturday night, 
but was happy to find that it did not make me happy. 

251 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

This entry may read to me frivolous hereafter, but 
I have smoked so very much, and thought so much 
about it, and been so unhappy if I missed my weed, 
that I am glad to feel that I can emancipate myself, 
if I hke." 

That would have been all very satisfactory, if it had 
had no sequel, but when we find him recording in the 
following month that he is " smoking hard again," we 
guess that he has ceased to fight. Either circum- 
stances are too strong for him, or he is what Ward 
Beecher called " a barrel without hoops, which is bound 
to tumble to pieces." 

But, if he had ceased to fight against these dangerous 
habits, he certainly had not ceased, and never did till 
his life's end cease, to work with might and main. 
Punch and the Illustrated London News were now 
between them paying him about eight hundred a year. 
And his editorship of Home News, his work on the 
Bristol Mirror, his pla3/s and his novels, together with 
sporadic contributions to other periodicals must have 
brought two or three hundreds more. That meant 
work of a very arduous nature, and it is not for us who 
have never done half so much to judge him too hardly 
for whipping his jaded energies up to the performance 
of the tasks which he had undertaken, and which it 
was his duty to perform to the best of his ability. 
Foolish and short-sighted he may have been, but jour- 
nalism is a hard mistress, and is not slow to discard 
the servant who shows signs of failing. And expenses 
were rapidly increasing. There was the house in Kent 
Terrace to keep up, and there were the two boys to be 

252 



THE LEIGH MURRAY BENEFIT 

educated. There were dinner parties to be given and 
a constantly enlarging circle of acquaintances to be 
entertained one way or another. There were summer 
holidays to be spent abroad or at the seaside, and, as 
we have seen, there were many cigars to be smoked 
and no inconsiderable quantity of wine to be consumed. 
There was his old father to be provided for, and there 
were innumerable friends and relations who sponged 
upon him to an unconscionable extent. And these 
things could not be paid for unless the tired brain was 
kept at its busiest, the willing heart strained to the 
point of exhaustion. 

Nor were the imperative calls of his employers the 
only drain upon his energies. Overworked as he was, 
he could always find time to do a good turn for his 
friends. To take one example, on June the 27th we 
find him contributing a " scene " to be enacted by the 
beneficiaries at the benefit of the Leigh Murrays at 
Drury Lane — a benefit at which, it is interesting after 
forty years to remember, Charles Santley, still happily 
with us, was one of the notable performers. Unable 
to be present himself, because he was taking ''medicine," 
Shirley records : — 

*' Sent E. and E. to Drury Lane, to Leigh Murray's 
benefit. They returned with a glowing account of the 
effect of the scene — the house in tears, and waving 
wipes." 

The " scene " is so charming an example of his 
graceful verse that I make no apology for rescuing it 
from oblivion. 

253 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Enter Mrs. Lkigh Murray. 
Mrs. L. M. When the full heart is fullest lips are dumb, 
For words turn traitors and refuse to come, 
And if I borrow words to tell our tale 
'Tis only that I feared my own might fail : 
For this great kindness, this most generous 

aid, 
Thanks heaped on thanks must leave our 

debt unpaid. 
Yet how to thank you ? Should the actor's 

wife 
Tell you the story of his saddened life : 
Of prostrate energy, of wearying pain. 
Of hope renewed, but to be crushed again : 
Tell how the Artist sighed to tread once 

more 
The boards he loved — the drama's haunted 

floor : 
Tell how the Husband burned to break the 

spell 
And share Life's Battle (once he fought it 

well). 
And how, with sickening heart, he day by 

day 
And month by month " his chamber's 

prisoner " lay ? 
This I cotild tell. But to awake the tear 
Were poor requital of your presence here ; 
Nor would I stand with drooping looks and 

sad. 
When you come round us but to make us 

glad. 
Believe but this — that suffering, grief, and 

care 
Have sometimes seemed beyond what he 

could bear, 

254 



THE LEIGH MURRAY BENEFIT 

And this — our troubles, which hke night- 
birds prey, 
Scared by your hands and voices, flee away. 
Fitter than mournful story, to my mind, 
Were some brief interlude of cheerier kind. 
Some half dramatic trifle to beguile 
Each friendly face of an indulgent smile. 
And yet to be no fiction. In the gloom 
And the long silence of the shaded room 
His thoughts have oft recalled triumphant 

nights, 
The crowded theatre, the glowing lights. 
The new-drawn character, the certain hit. 
The storm of passion and the fence of wit ; 
And one whose love and duty bade her 

strive 
To keep the moment's cheerfulness alive, 
To make him mirthful answer would essay. 
Something like what we thought to say 

to-day. 
Will you forgive such trespass on your time, 
And hear us talk — as no one talks — in 

rhyme ? 
If so, a moment's pardon while I bring 
Our convalescent on — he's near the wing. 
Brings Mr. Leigh Murray forward. He is about 
to speak. 
Mrs. L. M. Speak if you will, nor such an_^impulse 
stem, v^rj 

Yet I have told them what we owe to them. 
Mr. L. M. You have not told them, as I mean to do, 
One hundredth part of what I owe to you. 
Mrs. L. M. Silence this instant, or I go P.S., 

And leave you to conclude. Obedient ? 
Mr. L. M. Yes. 

Yet, if they only knew 

255 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Mrs. L. M. I only know 

That if I hear a word of that, I go. 
Mr. L.M. I'm dumb. 
Mrs. L. M. No, no ; you need not look so meek ; 

On your behalf I've promised you shall 
speak. 
Mr. L. M. Would I had words to thank them, one 

and all. 
Mrs. L. M. Not yet. Attend to me. Do 3^ou recall 
The conversation when I asked you where 
You coveted to go for change of air ? 
Mr. L. M. I think so. I remarked, my dear, that you 
Surveyed the world from China to Peru. 
Mrs. L. M. Answer as you did then. Come, choose 

your clime. 
Mr. L. M. Where have I not been, madam, in my 
time ? 
Through Cyprus some who' re here have 

seen me walk, 
And in Verona's ball-room heard me talk. 
Mrs. L. M. Would you Uke Paris ? 
Mr. L. M. There I've borne my part ; 

Surely you don't forget " The Marble 
Heart." 
Mrs. L. M. Rome ? 

Mr. L. M. I've been there as Antony, you know. 
Mrs. L. M. Sweden ? 
Mr. L. M. I've reigned there. 
Mrs. L. M. What's that island— Oh ! 

Mauritius — will that suit you, o'er the 

wave ? 

Mr. L. M. 'Twas there I fought a Creole for a slave. 

Mrs. I,. M. Then be content with going out of town — 

Some quiet village, near some breezy 

down — 
Say Chobham. 
256 



THE LEIGH MURRAY BENEFIT 

Mr. L. M. I've been there. Though now he's tamer^ 

Some persons may remember Captain 
Darner, 
Mrs. L. M. Bath's pleasant. 
Mr. L. M. Captain Absolute can tell 

That he was quartered there and liked it 
well. 
Mrs. L. M. My hst is done. To make it more, I fear 

I must go home and fetch the Gazetteer. 
Mr. L. M. Mine is not half exhausted — yet I trust 

To make it longer. 
Mrs. L. M. And you shall and must, 

Thanks to the generous friends who've 
cleared our way, 

To sunny lands where southern breezes 

play, 
Where, health restored, and hfe m every 

vein, 
I pray to hear " Richard's himself again." 
Mr. L. M. Now I must speak. My words shall be 

but few. 
(To the audience.) 

Let me but own my pleasant debt to 

you. 
My ship is nobly launched. A Royal 

hand 
Hath kindly deigned to help it from the 

sand. 
Your hands have urged it on, and let me 

say. 
Those of my own dear craft have given it 

way. 
It floats. Farewell ! A prosperous 

voyage or not, 
God bless you ! This can never be forgot. 

{Exeunt.) 

257 

i8-(i297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Henry Leigh Murray, round whom and his clever wife 
Shirley and many other friends had rallied in the hour 
of sickness and misfortune, a sound and painstaking 
actor, who had done good work with Macready and 
Helen Faucit (Lady Martin), was destined to survive 
his benefit but a few years. His wife, a clever actress 
in domestic comedy, was the daughter of Henry Lee, 
author of " Throw Physic to the Dogs." 

In August of this year Shirley and his wife were the 
guests of Mr. and Mrs. Frith at Scarborough. Others 
of the party were Mr. J. C. Parkinson, who had just 
returned from the historic trip of the Great Eastern, 
when the great Atlantic cable had snapped in mid- 
ocean, Horace Mayhew, the Sotherns, W. O'Neil, and 
the Yateses. Mr. Parkinson tells me that, notwith- 
standing his absence from London, Shirley always 
wore a top hat and a frock coat and could hardly be 
induced to take any exercise. He preferred to spend 
his time indoors and " to surround himself with what 
appeared to be every newspaper published, which he 
skimmed with rapidity and never seemed to tire of." 
One amusement which he really enjoyed was the 
" circus," which the party much affected and at which 
" command " performances were given for their amuse- 
ment. Amongst their acquaintances was a certain 
sprig of nobility, of late years holding high ofhce in the 
House of Commons, whose roving eye fell upon the 
circus-proprietor's pretty daughter. One night the 
noble father of the young aristocrat and the circus- 
proprietor turned up in great perturbation at the 
PYiths' lodgings. The girl had gone off and so had 

258 



AN ELOPEMENT AND A RESCUE 

the young sprig. Shirley and Mr. Frith at once 
started in pursuit and fortunately discovered the girl 
no further off than the railway station. Here a lurid 
picture was drawn of what would be her fate when her 
lover had tired of her, and she was brought back before 
much harm was done. Some time after Shirley 
received a charming letter from the lady, saying that, 
thanks to him, she was a happy wife and mother, and 
that she blessed him every day of her life. 

Through the kindness of Mrs. Panton (Miss " Sissy " 
Frith), I am enabled to add to this record the following 
" Passages from a Diary of a Celebrated R.A,, and of 
a Distinguished Author, with incidental notices of an 
* Ornary Cuss ' and Other Persons," written at the time 
by Shirley, and describing one day of the Scarborough 
visit. The " Harrow Boy " referred to is Mr. C. G. Frith. 
** Sarony " is of course the well-known photographer, of 
whom Shirley writes in a letter of this date : " Photo- 
graphy here is in all its vulgarer glory, and there is an 
artist, Sarony, who has built the splendidest place out 
of his profits ; of course I have sat, ecce signum, but 
he has done better than this." 

" 7 a.m. — The Harrow Boy sets the household a good 
example. He rises, and throws himself into Latin, 
Greek, Algebra, and other branches of learning. His 
example is not followed, though his footsteps are, by 
the row he makes in going. 

" 7.30. — Various noises. Invitation to purchase 
herrings dominates everything. 

" 8.0. — Miss Frith goes out banging all the doors. 
Mr. Brooks remarks on the inside of his door that there 

259 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

is no rest for the wicked and not much for the ungodly. 
He gets up. 

" 8.30. — The rest of the house is supposed to be 
rising. 

" 8.45. — Messrs, Frith, O'Neil, and Brooks meet at 
the Springs, and proceed to contradict each other on 
every given question. O'Neil declares the cold water 
to be refreshing, on which the other two accuse him of 
having taken too much brandy over night. Brooks 
says the waters are humbug, on which Frith declares 
that they cure all diseases of mind and body. O'Neil 
says that the day is hot. Frith replies that the thermo- 
meter has gone down. Brooks observes that none of 
the Scarborough thermometers are good for anything. 
O'Neil agrees with this, on which Brooks says that the 
one at Albion Road is from London, and a very good 
one. Frith says it was made at York and is good for 
nothing. O'Neil explains the Atlantic cable, to which 
explanation Frith replies that he hopes there is ham 
for breakfast, and Brooks wishes he had the Leeds 
Mercury. O'Neil buys a stick because he sa3/s it is 
going to rain. Frith quotes poetry. Brooks abuses 
the Spa and all the visitors. O'Neil again explains the 
Atlantic cable and goes away. The other two make 
faces at him, and after a quarrel which road they shall 
take, return to breakfast. 

" 9.15. — Mrs. Frith rebukes them for keeping break- 
fast waiting. Frith replies that it may wait, and — 
something else, but Brooks being a visitor has grace 
enough to be polite and declare that they have come 
back earlier than usual and that they were kept waiting 
yesterday. Mrs. Frith repays evil with good, and gives 
them an admirable breakfast. Mrs. Shirley repines 
because she has no letters from Oxford. Brooks is 
sulky because there is a piece of bone in his ham, and 
wishes that his wife had helped him to it that he might 

260 



PASSAGES FROM A COMIC DIARY 

have expressed his feeHngs. Frith reads letters at 
breakfast, and anathematises the various writers, 
who are defended by Mrs. Frith. Pearce* gets on the 
window-sill and Miss Frith destroys the remaining peace 
of the meal by pretending to think that he will fall out. 
Brooks wishes that he could. The Harrow Boy fetches 
cigars. These calm Frith and Brooks, and their 
growls are temporarily exchanged for sweetness. They 
hope that the ladies will make out a pleasant day, but 
ingeniously defeat or evade every proposition for 
excursions or other enjoyments. 

" 10. — Frith and Brooks go into the drawing-room, 
take the best chairs and the last papers, and smoke 
benevolently, repeating their hopes that the ladies 
will enjoy themselves. Mrs. Shirley reads and abuses 
a novel. Miss Frith writes a letter mysteriously. 
Mrs. Frith orders dinner. (Bless her.) 

" 11. — Frith and Brooks, having smoked two cigars 
and read all the papers, have soda and brandy, and 
abuse O'Neil for not coming up with some plan for the 
day. Brooks declares that O'Neil can't paint, and Frith 
alleges that he cut the Atlantic cable because the 
Captain would not give him a third bottle of Burgundy. 
The ladies defend O'Neil because he gave them peaches, 
which he asserted cost ninepence each, a statement 
derided by Frith and Brooks. 

" 11.30. — Mrs. Shirley and Miss Frith leave the 
house. Brooks says that he must write, and Frith 
talks of devoting himself to art. The former goes 
upstairs and reads a French novel, and the latter goes 
over to Sarony's (because he can be seen from the 
windows to go there), but is 7tot there when Brooks, 
having read the novel, goes over. They meet later on 

* The dog, named after the well-known sporting Dorsetshire 
parson, who wrote under the pseudonym " Idstone " for The Field. 

26 J 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

the Esplanade, and each declares he has been sitting 
on one of the benches for an hour. They agree to say 
that they have been waiting to be photographed. 
When asked whether they have seen the negative, they 
reply in it ! Brooks proposes to fish, and Frith says 
it is too rough. Frith proposes to sail, and Brooks says 
there is no wind. 

" 12.30. — Frith and Brooks have more cigars to 
refresh them after their artistic and literary labours. 
They quote poetry alternately for half-an-hour, and 
Mrs. Frith privately wonders whether she could get 
presentations for them to the Earlswood Asylum. 

" 1. — Cake and wine. Mrs. Shirley and Miss Frith 
came in, the former enraged because she could not 
bathe, the latter because she has had to speak to a 
' cad ' on the Spa. Frith remarks (from Burns) that 
' a man's a man for a' that,' and that ' rank is but the 
guinea stamp.' Brooks quotes Dr. Watts with profane 
alterations. Frith sings a popular air of a pensive kind 
of the year 1835, and Brooks tells a story (thought to 
be untrue) about his recollections of 1821. After their 
athletic exercises they have more cigars. The ladies 
all read novels, and declare them idiotic. Mrs. Shirley 
begins to net, but diverging first into knitting and then 
into crochet, makes no great progress. Miss Frith 
reads a letter for the ninth time, and then tears it into 
very small pieces. Everybody condemns O'Neil for 
his unprincipled conduct in not coming up with some 
plan, and everybody asserts positively that he pledged 
himself to do so, but all disagree as to the hour he 
fixed. 

" 1.30. — Frith and Brooks go out to the relief of the 
ladies. Brooks wishes, with a laudable curiosity, to 
go and see certain paintings which are being exhibited 
in the town, but Frith rancorously denounces the 
proposition, and offers to go to the circus. Brooks is 

262 



SCARBOROUGH 

abusive about mountebanks, and says he came here 
for air and not sawdust. They compromise by going 
to Theakstone's, where Brooks buys a map of Scar- 
borough, which can be of no earthly use, and Frith 
takes elaborate particulars touching certain excursions 
on which he has not the remotest idea of going. They 
look into the Town Hall and wrangle over its date, 
which Brooks calls Queen Anne and Frith George the 
Second. At the entrance of a policeman they drop 
their voices and compliment him on a beastly old 
picture of Jackson's which Frith says is worthy of 
Salvator Rosa, and Brooks thinks is an early Rubens. 
The policeman sees them out, and looks at the Hue and 
Cry to ascertain whether they are described in that 
periodical. They are reduced to despair from utter 
nothingness of purpose when they meet O'Neil, who 
explains the Atlantic cable, and does not ask them 
into the ' Royal ' to have drinks. They remark offen- 
sively on his meanness when he does ask them in, and 
they retort, still more offensively, that previously to 
going they are resolved to witness his departure for 
another and a hotter world. All three then lean against 
rails, and in a purely artistic spirit make observations 
on the ladies who go by strugghng against the wind. 
Anecdotes occur to them, and they block up the 
pavement by getting into a group to recount these, 
and curse the inoffensive passengers for wanting to 
come by and thus interrupting a narrative. O'Neil 
abused for not having come to Albion Road, asserts, 
with frightful oaths, that he never had the least idea 
of doing so. He is invited to dinner by Frith, but 
surlily refuses, at which, when O'Neil has gone into his 
hotel. Brooks expresses satisfaction. Being asked why, 
he is unable to say, but rides off into general abuse of 
all connected with the Atlantic cable. Frith in a 
savagely contradictory spirit praises O'Neil until 

263 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Brooks admits that he has good points, when Frith 
retracts and proposes to go and see the artillery prac- 
tice. Brooks is about to wish the artillery under fire 
which they would not like, when he remembers that 
he is a guest who is receiving (all things considered) 
tolerable hospitable entertainment, and gives an 
ungracious assent, in which Frith changes his mind, 
and they go home and have more cigars. 

" 3. — The ladies mutiny and declare that they are 
never taken anywhere. Frith quotes poetry to the 
effect that woman's smile is sweetest at home, and 
Brooks cites the Scripture to show that she should be 
a ' stayer ' there, but these agreements being utterly 
despised, the party, increased by additions,^ go out in 
a break and are frightfully bumped and covered with 
dust. (N.B. — For purposes of art this is described in 
a general way, but two such journeys were actually 
performed. On one occasion the party, about ten, 
went to Filey, and had a pigeon-pie, which was made 
of ' high ' fragments of steak, and on the second the 
party, about seventeen, went to Hackness and had 
nothing except a lounge in a churchyard and a narrow 
escape from a spill.) But the excursion had a sensa- 
tional character, and everybody, probably to annoy 
everybody else, was delighted. Brooks and Frith 
quoted poetry with much fluency, and to the intense 
satisfaction of their companions, though the latter are 
too delicate to give any sign of the gratification they 
must have experienced at the recitations. 

" 4. — (If no excursion.) Frith and Brooks suddenly 
discover that it is a shame that the ladies should have 
no enjoyment, so take them out, and with curious 
alacrity put them into a bad carriage with a tired horse 
and a sulky driver, and send them along the dustiest 
road that can be selected. (N.B. — The ladies are 
speedily disgusted and come home and meditate 

264 



SCARBOROUGH 

several things to be said to the traitors, who, meantime, 
have gone to make a pleasant call, have seen pretty 
pictures, and eaten cool grapes.) 

*' 4.50. — Frith and Brooks go to fetch the Times, and 
are indecorously frantic because it has been already 
fetched by some of the family. They think of buying 
another copy to read as they walk home, but Theak- 
stone has not got one, so they are saved this folly. 
They go down on the Spa and find O'Neil, whom they 
vituperate for not being at home at work. He explains 
the Atlantic cable, and is called an ' Ornary Cuss ' 
(Artemus Ward), and the other two are put into 
singular good humour by this display of their wit. 
They quarrel, however, as to which water should be 
taken before dinner, but Frith proposes to drink both, 
and quotes the ' Meeting of the Waters ' so appro- 
priately that Brooks is compelled to be polite, and wish 
that his host would trust more often to his excellent 
memor}^ and less to his inferior originality. O'Neil 
is desired to come up in the evening for cards, on which 
he utters several insults and retires, saying that he 
will see about it. The others exchange confidences 
on his personal character. 

" 5.30. — Brooks and Frith come in and declare that 
they have walked eight miles. Brooks says that if he 
does not have some sherry he will go to the window 
and bellow that he is not mad, but that Frith is keeping 
him a prisoner to get his property. He gets sherry. 
The ladies complain of the bad carriage, and Frith, 
looking out and believing that it will rain next day, 
promises them a drive to-morrow, and declares that 
he has bespoken a conveyance. Brooks dresses for 
dinner by turning down his wristbands and Frith by 
pulling up his collars. The obituary in the Times is 
read and many good jokes are made on the names of 
the defunct, chiefly by Brooks, who is insulted for his 

265 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

alleged levity. Frith quotes ' There is a tear for ali 
who die,' but does not know the second line. 

" 6. — {And very punctual.) Dinner, and a very 
good one, so all soften and are happy, except Mrs. 
Shirley, who repines that the second post brings her 
no letter from Oxford. 

" 7. — O'Neil comes in to wine (will not take any) and 
smoke (brings his own cigars). He presents Frith and 
Brooks with two which cost ninepence each. They 
blush, privately, at having accused him of meanness 
and immediately abuse him for extravagance. He 
explains the Atlantic cable and is called an ' Ornary 
Cuss.' The ladies retire and a fierce debate on high 
art, interspersed with scandalous anecdotes of its 
professors, follows. Discussion as to the next President 
of the R.A. O'Neil suggests Gilbert Scott, on which 
Frith dances on the table with rage. Getting down, 
he speaks evil of architects, on which Brooks, who has 
two in his family, turns livid and describes painters as 
people who furnish the houses built by architects. 
Frith is too exhausted to reply, but O'Neil, so furious, 
that he takes a glass of water by mistake, threatens to 
cut up Brooks in Blackwood. They all foam and 
rave at once, until Horace Mayhew comes in with some 
French newspapers, and the conversation takes a 
different turn and chiefly laments the unworthiness of 
most persons known to the four. 

" 9. — They go up to tea and cards. Here O' Neil's 
superiority at last asserts itself ; he knows all the cards 
(somehow), and is detested accordingly. Brooks's play 
is not understood, but his perfect obtuseness and 
sweetness of temper prevent his comprehending the 
invitation of his partner. Miss Frith looks over shoul- 
ders, and is scolded by her he-parent when he has a 
bad hand. Mayhew is frightfully eager to win, and 
curses the cards in elegant French, which nobody 

266 



PASSAGES FROM A COMIC DIARY 

understands. Mrs. Shirley reads Fielding's ' Amelia,' 
and speaks profanely of that classic. Brooks growls 
that it would be well if she would imitate Amelia. Is 
told that he certainly resembles Booth, and shuts up. 
Frith quotes Lord Byron for several minutes, and, being 
exhausted, calls the cards ' Cusses,' and at 

" 10. — Soda and brandy come. Cigars resumed. 
The Harrow Boy is got to bed with some difficulty, 
and as he is the only one of the party who has worked 
or played in earnest, his vitality is an object of envy to 
the rest. The ' Ornary Cuss ' goes, taking Horace, 
who tries to stay in order to save the toll, but is ejected. 
The ladies retire. Frith offers Brooks another cigar, 
hoping that he will not take it, but he is wretch enough 
to do so, and to keep his weary host talking until 10.45, 
when a sense of shame comes over the author, and he 
impudently asks whether Frith wishes to sit up any 
later. The latter retorts with more alacrity than 
politeness, and at 

"11 . — Brooks retires to stick combs into the window 
of his room, and toothbrushes under the door to prevent 
rattling, and makes more noise than any gale of wind. 
Frith reads the Times until he falls asleep in his chair, 
and at 

" 11.45. — The last word is spoken in the house. It 
is in a gentle voice, saying — 

'" William!" 

" 11.46. — The last sound is uttered in the house. 
It is a half-sleep answer to the voice, and is — 

" ' Um? Ah ! ' (The R.A. goes to bed.) " 

Of this performance I find it recorded in the diary — 

" Began a diary of our life here, for the diversion of the 
household, but one had to avoid so many corns that I 
could not do much with it." 

267 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

From Scarborough the Brookses proceeded to 
Scotland, whence Shirley wrote : — 

S. B. TO Mr. W. p. Frith, R.A * 

" woodfield, 

" Inverness. 
" My dear Frith, 

" Id nous sommes. Thanks for forwarding letters. 
I owe you a great heap of stamps, and shall have very 
great pleasure in paying you the compliment of con- 
tinuing to owe them. The principal ornament of the 
hotel-room at Banavie (Benjamin Nevis) is the work 
by one Frith, R.A., representing somebody coming of 
age, and in our sitting-room the same artist is repre- 
sented again by the girl warning a dog to behave 
himself. I wish you had been with us on this voyage, 
as the weather was perfect and the scenery (if you 
could appreciate it) came out strong. Curious animals 
on board, some very pretty faces included (if you could 
appreciate female loveliness), and some creditable 
ankles. It is as hot here as Scarborough, and there 
are Highland games going on ; so there is no peace for 
the wicked, and very little for the ungodly. I am 
sitting in a clatter and chatter. Excuse good spelling. 
I wish Sarony, the photographer, would send me a few 
photos of myself here, for distribution among the 
Highland aristocracy. We are among swells. Three 
dukes arrived last night — Manchester, Wellington, and 
the Duke of Fife, and we had some kind of prince with 
wopping blue eyes on board — Hesse, I think. Some- 
thing better than your Leeds and Wakefield swells, eh ! 
but then we have no Royal Academicians. I hope, 
however, to see Phillip, R.A., to-day. He is much 
feted by the resident gentry, I hear, which shows 

* Vide Frith's " Reminiscences," Vol. Ill, p. 282. 



IN SCOTLAND 

something like a respect for art, and is a proof that 
they really do not know what artists are. 

'' Write us a letter, and tell me how you all get on ; 

has corrected his proofs and his morals ? I wish 

you could see the tourists in the boats, they are lovely 
fun ; and their enthusiasm, when they have carefully 
read the guide-book and are quite sure that they are 
at the right place to begin yelling, is most delicious. 
I had opportunities of lying unto several with extem- 
pore legends, and I am happy to say that I availed 
myself thereof. 

" We shall be here for two or three days, I s'pose, 
and then to the Glen ; but this will be the last address. 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

*' Shirley Brooks." 

Here is what he wrote from the same place to Punch. 
It is a good example of the way in which he turned into 
'* copy " the ordinary and prosaic happenings of the 
day : — 

" Drumnadrochit. 
" My dear ' Mr. Punch,' 

" My last despatch left me, or rather you, at the 
foot of Ben Nevis. For my own part, I could have 
remained there — when I say ' there,' I mean, however, 
at a comfortable inn called after the Arms of him who 
was respectfully advised to beware of the day when 
the Lowlands should meet him in battle array — but 
aliter visum — and once more I had to rise at six in the 
morning. I like to sit in a chair when I eat my break- 
fast, and to-day I indulged this whim before embarking. 
While dispatching my modest meal (haddock, chop, 
ham and eggs, eggs plain, bramble jam, toast, marma- 
lade, strong tea, and a dram), my eye fell — bother, 
both my eyes went up to an engraving of Mr. Frith' s 
celebrated picture — which depicts the ceremony of 

269 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

gratulating a young heir, of other days, on his coming 
of age. You tell me that large numbers of your readers 
desire to know ' what your Valued Contributor is like 
to look at.' Let them procure that engraving, and 
in the face and figure of the graceful young Heir they 
will find a remarkable resemblance to myself, li I 
regret anything, it is that I was not also born to a 
mansion and estate, though your liberal appreciation of 
my genius makes this regret almost ungracious. I wish 
that Mr. Frith would paint the touching scene that 
occurred when you, manly tears half choking your 
utterance, presented me with the delightful villa and 
grounds, coachhouse and stables, and hot and cold 
water on the premises, to which I shall have returned 
in a few days." 

From the same place he sent Mr. Frith the following 

jeu d' esprit : — * 

"THEOLOGICAL HOROLOGY. 

" There's this to say about the Scotch, 
So bother bannocks, braes, and birks ; 
They can't produce a decent Watch, 
For Calvinists despise good works." 

In October the Brookses were back in London, and 
Shirley, who during his holiday had still kept his 
editors suppUed with " copy," was harder at work 
than ever. 

On the 19th he contributes his first batch of " Pimch's 
Table Talk " — " A notion of mine," he says, " which 
will enable me to fire away good stories of miscellaneous 
reading and thinking." It was the first of a long series 
of disjointed paragraphs, which, at this distance of 
time, it must be confessed, read rather jejunely. 

* Afterwards used in Punch. 

270 



DEATH OF PALMERSTON 

On October 12th, he records in his diary : — 

" T. Taylor, Bristol, intimates that he cannot longer 
afford the luxury of a London Letter. This I expected, 
and am glad that the work, which was irksome and cut 
into better things, will cease. He wrote very properly, 
and I rephed very ditto. . . . Emily went to Oxford 
to see the boys, and reported very well of Rego, but 
thinks the Pig* not so happy. R. has swum across the 
Thames and back. Bravo ! " 

On October 14th :— 

" Got box for E. and Mrs. Frith at Adelphi — went. 
Saw Mrs. Mellon's capital Nan in ' Good for Nothing'; 
real acting. Jeffreson, the American, in ' Rip Van 
Winkle,' which has been a hit — crowded house. The 
best American actor I have seen, and the first act, while 
Rip is young, the best acting I have seen for years. 
Repose, ease, and absence of all stage trick. The piece 
is weak, like all Boucicault's, because the author has 
no earnestness, and half the house cried while the other 
half laughed. I have seen the play somewhere, in 
another form, and acted by some other American, years 
ago. Fearfully hot, and this is the way we undo the 
good done by Highland air. I won't more than I can 
help." 

On October 18th Lord Palmerston dies, and he 
writes : — 

" Some words in the Times to-day had rather pre- 
pared me for this, and I abstained from writing the 
second Illustrated N. article until next day. M. L. 
sent me up word of the death, and asked me to write 
something for P.P. It is a difficult work, but I 
accepted. I am glad I saw so much of Palmerston in 

* Cecil's nickname. 

271 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

the House. I heard the great Pacifico speech, 15th 
June, 1850, and did the summary. I heard Peel's last 
speech, made in the same debate. I wrote to Pal- 
merston for his autograph with that date and he sent 
it me a year afterwards, saying that he took it for 
granted that I was one of those who held by the old 
saying, better late than never. It is in the frame with 
the not good portrait of him. I think that the last 
time I saw him was after the inauguration of Durham's 
statue of the Consort, in S. Kensington Gardens, when 
we were quite close in the crowd coming away — he was 
in the Windsor uniform. He would have been 81 
had he lived till Friday. A true Englishman." 

The verses occupied him all day, but in the end 
proved so good that Brinley Richards, the composer 
of " God bless the Prince of Wales," set them to 
music. One verse, however, drew down upon his head 
the animadversions of an anonymous correspondent, 
who pointed out that in it he had used seven " his's " 
and six " hers " ! 

It ran : — 

" But his heart was his England's, his idol her honour. 
Her friend was his friend, and his foe was her foe, 
Were her mandate despised, or a scowl passed upon her, 
How stern his rebuke, or how vengeful his blow ! " 

" He can count," wrote Shirley. " Ass ! I should 
have put more if I had wanted them." 

On October 27th Palmerston was buried, and he 
notes : — 

" A fine day, as Palmerston would have desired. 
An English funeral, unless military, is a miserable 
show, and this was no exception. An interminable 
string of carriages." 

272 



B. & E. "AND CO." 



On November 1st there is a '* stunning " entertain- 
ment given to the Punch staff at the "Albion," "as 
a sort of inauguration of the new firm (Bradbury, 
Evans and Co.), and the introduction of the Agnews. 
It was what Bunsby would call a howling good dinner. 
AU the staff, the 4 B. & E.'s and 3 Agnews (not T. 
Taylor, who pleaded illness). I will set the array, 
as it may not be gathered again in a hurry. B. made 
a long speech, commending the sons to the friendship 
of the Punch men. Evans said that the history of 
B. & E. had begun, continued, and ended in mistakes, 
but now all was to go right. M. L. spoke very well 
and with an intention that a non-interference policy 
must be adhered to. I proposed ' The Ladies,' and 
Horace replied. 



F. M. E. 



M. L. 

J. Tenniel 

Thos. Agnew 

S. B. 

Fred 

Silver 

J. H. Agnew 

Du Maurier 



Leigh 
Burnand 
Agnew 
T. T. should have been here 
W. Bradbury 
Keene 
Bennett 
Horace M. 



Bradbury 



" After Mark had sung ' Cupid's Garden,' and 
while du Maurier was on a French song, I left, and 
dashed home in a hansom, but the bulk of the party 
stayed late." 

Seven years later, on the retirement of Mr. F. M. 
Evans, the firm became Bradbury, Agnew & Co., as it 
is to this day. 

About this time Percival Leigh sends him his 
photograph. 



273 



19— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" Thanks, my dear Leigh. It is simply damnable, 
and I shall give it a place only until you have satten, 
sitten, sotten, what is it, to a London man, and had a 
decent one done. Yet, what wouldn't one give for 
even so bad a likeness of many a friend who was 
absorbed into Buddha before the art was invented ? 

" I hope you'll like ' Table Talk ' ; the idea came 
on me in Scotland, as a means of saying anything that 
one remembered, or thought of. Mark was greatly 
pleased. I shall go on with the series if it seem to be 
liked by you all, and whether the kangaroos outside 
like it or not.* 

" Yes, yesterday was beastly. It was essential that 
something should be posted in a pillar box, and I could 
not send out my women in such weather, so went 
myself and earned an extra glass of gin and water, for 
which I am none the better at this writing. 

" Ever yours, 

"S. B. 
" Monday, 5 p.m." 

On November 9th Edmund Yates charges him with 
copying a line in " Table Talk " from one of his books. 

" Utterly unaware thereof," he writes, " the idea is too 
common to be anybody's. Answered him with a 
fictitious quotation from a burlesque, older, of course, 
than his book. Wonder whether he'll be sold ! " 

On November 17th he revisits Oswestry which, as we 
have seen, always held a warm place in his affections, 
to lecture in aid of the Institute. He was full of gout 
and " could wear an old shoe only " on the journey. 

* The series continued until Feb. 10, 1866, when Parliament met 
and " The Essence " took its place. 

274 



LECTURES AT OSWESTRY 

But he was determined not to disappoint his old 
friends, and was well rewarded for his pains. " Hall 
seats 750," says his diary, " but there were 800, and 
all sorts of Church folk and swells who don't ever come 
to this Hall, because it had a Dissenting origin. Two 
M.P.'s. I felt that I might be ill, and perhaps took 
extra pains, but never gave the lecture more steadily. 
... A little old thing came up laughing to ' shake 
hands for the sake of old times.' ... I had, of course, 
forgotten her, but she was a girl when I was a boy at 
O., and my aunt M., I remember, told me not to fall 
in love with her — whereof there was no danger, by 
reason of her ugliness." 

And the next day : — 

" I find I have cleared off their debt, so that my visit 
answers its purpose. And I may say to myself that 
he who left Oswestry rather as a wild kind of young 
fellow, thought to be loose, is not exactly sorry to go 
back, find all walls for miles round placarded with his 
name, and that name drawing all the intense respect- 
ability of the region. This is not vanity, but a grateful 
recognition of the turn of events." 

Towards the end of this year Mr. Frith became for 
the first time a grandfather, and Shirley wrote : — 

S. B. TO Mr. Frith, R.A. 

" ' Punch ' Office, 

" Nov. 21s/, 1865. 
" Frith, even Grandfather Frith, 

" With my whole soul do I congratulate thee and 
the grandmamma, and the venerable Aunt Sissy, and 
all the small uncles and infinitesimal aunts, or emmets. 
But chiefly I congratulate thee, O reverent and reverend, 
for the opportunity now afforded thee for the mending 
of thy ways. Henceforth we look for no frivolity from 

275 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

thee, no unseemly gibes and jests to which thou alone 
addest ' That's good,' and echo is silent. Henceforth 
thou must study to live at peace with all men, as 

becomes white hairs, and let us hear no more when 

announceth his ' last exhibition ' that thou didst hope 
it would begin at three minutes to eight a.m., and be at 
Newgate. Truly this is a great chance for thee, O man 
of palettes, and aerial perspectives, and conscientious 
work, such as the AthencBum loves to indicate with the 
gesture called ' taking a sight.' Learn psalms and 
hymns and spiritual songs, to be chanted unto thy 
grandchild, and endeavour to obtain some knowledge 
of geography, etymology, tintacks, and prosody, that 
thou mayest not be put utterly to shame when the child 
shall demand information of thee. Leave off smoking, 
yet keep a box for thy younger friends who are not 
grandfathers. Scoff not at architects, for where 
wouldst thou be but for houses ? Nay, art thou not 
the founder of a house ? Look no longer at the ankles 
of the other sex, save in the way of thy calling, and 
speak no soft words unto the maidens, saying, ' Lo, 
I adore thee,' when thou dost nothing of the kind. 

Abjure the society of low Bohemians like and , 

but cultivate the honest and virtuous, like Brooks, and, 
in so far as thou mayest, imitate him. Do not eat too 
much ham at breakfast, for temperance becometh the 
aged. Read few novels, but let those thou readest be 
of the best, as ' Broken to Harness,' ' The Silver Cord,' 
' An Artist's Proof,' and ' Blount Tempest.' Likewise, 
begin to dress less jauntily, and wear a high waistcoat 
like the Right Reverend Bellew, and the Right 
Reverend Brooks. When thou goest to the Academy 
dinner, avoid, so far as thou canst, the taking too much 
wine, for what thing is less dignified than a swipey 
grandfather ? Cherish these counsels in the apple of 
thine eye, and in the pineapple of thy rum ; and be 

276 



EARNINGS 



thankful that, at a time of hfe when other young men 
may not ungracefully indulge in youthful levity, thou 
art called to a higher and a graver sphere. Buy a stick 
and practise walking with it, bending thy back, and 
not perking up elegantly when a comely female passeth 
by. Have grave men to thy feasts, notably him who 
expecteth the interview with Mrs. Cottle, and to suffer 
as he never suffered before. So I greet thee, grand- 
father, and hope that thou wilt have many grandsons 
and granddaughters, and wilt ask me to the christening 
of them all. " S. B."* 

The year ends with a full account of his earnings, 
which are not without interest : — 



" Punch to Aug. 20th, when 
change. 30 weeks 
Ditto since. 22 weeks 
Illustrated, salary 
Bristol, till stop 
Illustrated extra, Palmerston 
Once a Week (Xmas Story) 
Almanac f 
Leech book . . 
Home News . . 
Extra ditto . . 
Pocket-Book 



£ s. d. 

375 

262 10 

163 16 

90 

17 17 

10 10 

16 16 

50 more 

63 

14 14 

15 9 9 



£1,079 12 9t 



* Vide Frith 's " Reminiscences," Vol. Ill, pp. 277 and 278. 

j" As a delicate attention on the part of the publishers, special 
copies of the Almanac were this year printed upon linen in the 
shape of handkerchiefs and presented to the staff, who had suffered 
much from influenza ! These should now fetch considerable prices 
in the sale-room amongst collectors of literary curiosities. 

X In addition to the above he had this year received £400 for his 
novel, but the work had been done before. 

277 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" If my calculations are right, and they must be 
very nearly^ I have or shall have received the above, 
hard cash, for my work in '65, which hard cash last year 
was only £821. This advance is satisfactory, but, 
D.V., we must increase it. 
" 31s/ Dec, 1865." 

So much for the year 1865 with its diary rescued from 
the storehouse of Fate. For the next three years the 
diaries are to seek, and the progress of Shirley's life 
must be gathered from such of his letters as have 
survived and come into my hands, and such other 
sources as are available. 

In the first he sends Mr. Frith one of those many 
unusable curiosities, which are showered upon the 
editors of humorous publications : — 

S. B. TO Mr. Frith, R.A. 

"4.1. 1866. 

" My dear Frith, 

" . . . . Do look at this bit of Cottleism. It is 
sent to Punch, but of course we can make no use of it. 

" ' DowLiNG. — Dec. 22nd, at his mundane abode, 
25 Foreland Street, off Exmouth Street, Birkenhead, 
the wife of Abraham John Dowling, preacher of the 
Gospel, late an un-sentenced prisoner in Chester Castle 
for preaching the Gospel, of a son and heir, by the 
mother's side (who is Elizabeth, third and youngest 
daughter of the late Captain William Williams, of 
Liverpool and Dubhn.) Thanks be ascribed to the 
name of the Lord Jesus Christ, man's only Saviour, 
blessed be His most holy name, the suffering mother 
and son have been brought through the furnace, and 
are both doing w^ell — bless the Lord : this child making 
the third arduous though at length happy delivery. 
Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. Amen and Amen.' 

278 



"MEN AND MARASCHINO" 

" I hope that Mrs. Frith was not permanently the 
worse for her kindly coming to us on the Eve. We 
heard that it had knocked her up a httle, but trust this 
result was temporary only. 

" The Lush and Shee joke was sent to Lemon by 
three different people a fortnight ago and more. I am 
sorry that he did not use it — for it is very good. What 
I thought you were going to mention was the Duchess 
of Something's response to ' Wine and Women/ 
* Men and Maraschino.' 

** Ever yours, 

"S. B." 
S. B. TO Mrs. Frith. 

" ' Punch' Office, 

" 27 BouvERiE Street. 
" My dear Mrs. Frith, 

" This has just been sent ; it is a report of a 
meeting of a Manchester Board. 

" ' The other business was entirely routine, except 
that the clerk (Mr. John Harrop) amused the Board 
by reading the following letter, as a curiosity, in its 
literary, no less than in its social aspect : — 

" February 2nd, 1866. 

" Would you be so kind & obliging as to Look in 
the House for me if there be a child newly Born, or is 
going to be born Soon to be parted with as one of our 
own but not with red hair it will have A good home & 
Learning. I should be very glad if you could supply 
me with one soon i could like it about A fortnight old 
or under a Month old i have been married about ten 
years. Now I think we shall Not have any of our own, 
and if you can supply me with one you will do a kind- 
ness And send me word and I will come for it in a week 
or a fortnight after i have a comfortable home and stays 
at home regilar dressmaker And your nothing to fear 

279 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

about me bringing it back for if I get a fine baby I keep 
it but I want so young so that I can bring it up my own 
way and that people wont know but why it is our own 
for I will go off for about a week or a fortnight before 
I come for it so that they wont know." ' 

" I think you will have a laugh. I hope that you 
are rapidly recovering from the trouble, which it was 
so sad to see you undergoing, while trying to make us 
all enjoy ourselves. 

" Ever affectly., 

" Shirley Brooks." 

This year, I learn from an article by Mr. William 
Archer in the Tribune, Shirley gave evidence before 
the select committee of the House of Commons which 
was enquiring into the functions of the Censor of Plays. 
His suggestion was that that official should be con- 
verted into a sort of theatrical public-prosecutor, 
empowered to suspend a representation on the properly 
authenticated complaint of a certain number of 
responsible persons, until its merits or demerits should 
be determined by a court or committee constituted to 
that end. The suggestion seems sensible enough, and, 
I agree with Mr. Archer, might, with some modifica- 
tions, be made workable and certainly more satisfactory 
than the present antiquated procedure. But the 
matter is one which cannot be dealt with at large 
in these pages. Those who are interested in the 
subject should read the history of the events which led 
up to the statutory establishment of the Censorship, as 
set forth in Mr. Watson Nicholson's painstaking book, 
" The Struggle for a Free Stage in London." 

It was about this time that Charles F. Browne, 

280 



ARTEMUS WARD 

better known as Artemus Ward, made his few con- 
tributions to Punch, to the first of which allusion is 
made in the following letter. He was already much 
broken in health, and died at Southampton on March 
6th of the following year. He was one of the eighteen 
guests at Shirley's hospitable board on New Year's Eve, 
1866, and, though he had never set eyes on his host 
before, was put up to propose his health. He proved 
himself equal to the occasion. 

Fixing his eye on a distant corner of the room and 
speaking with exaggerated seriousness as was his wont, 
he said, with his peculiar American drawl, that he 
supposed that he, who had no knowledge of Shirley 
Brooks whatever, had been put up to propose his 
health for that very reason, presumably because anyone 
who did know him wouldn't have a good word to say 
for him. He then went on to eulogize his host, drawing 
wholly upon his imagination for his many virtues, and 
finally sat down amidst a roar of applause and laughter. 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" Monday. 

" My dear Professor, 

" Thanks for your letter. Enjoy yourself, and be 
thankful that you are out of this infernal city, and its 
paint-pots. We were rather choked with copy this 
week, owing to Artemus Ward opening with us, and 
one or two other things that would not keep, so that 
some of your contributions stand over, but we shall 
want them * in our next.' I don't know whether you 
will like to look over your proofs again, but it just 
occurs to me that the excellent verses on Bribery 
would be the better for another glance. I ca7i't get 

281 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

at the metre of the opening hne ; is there a syllable too 
many ? Stacey* will send it you, anyhow, but don't 
alter it if you are satisfied. 

" Yesterday we joined Mr. and Mrs. Fred Evans at 
Windsor, and after service in the chapel (I was in the 
organ-loft, so worshipped in room and comfort, despis- 
ing the hot crowd below), we had a carriage and two 
horses, went about the Park, and to Virginia Water, 
lunched at the ' Wheatsheaf,' and dined at the ' White 
Hart ' in Windsor. Home by 10.50. A well-spent 
Sabbath, I think. 

" I will remember the young ladies and the crests ; 
when my boys come back I shall be able to do some- 
thing, as they were collectors, but have taken to more 
athletic amusements. 

"It is really lovely weather, which makes London 
all the more beastly to 

" Yours ever, 

"S. B." 

It will be seen from the above that Leigh's contribu- 
tions were crowded out to make room for those of 
Artemus Ward. This probably was the reason rather 
than the excuse at that time, but later on, as Mr. 
Spielmann touchingly puts it, " the decay of nature 
robbed him of his value as a member of the staff. 
Then came an example of the kindliness of spirit that 
has animated for so long the little coterie of humorists 
of Bouverie Street and the generosity of the men for 
whom they work. For a long while before his death 
' the Professor's ' copy had been practically useless 
to the Editor, yet everything was done to spare him 
the pain of rejection. At first Mr. Burnand or Mr. 

* The head printer. 

282 



''PROFESSOR" LEIGH 

Arthur a Beckett would re-write the paragraphs, and 
Leigh's dehght when they were printed was sad to see. 
But soon it was impossible to conceal the fact that they 
were utterly useless, and so for some years it was the 
practice to set his * copy ' up in type and to send him 
proofs, which he duly corrected and returned. But 
they never appeared in the paper, nor was ever question 
asked nor explanation offered. Did the old gentleman 
forget all about them ? Or was he hoping against hope 
that some day room might again be found for him in 
the pages to which he had contributed with so much 
applause ? Or did he appreciate the real motive and 
kindly feeling of the proprietors, who, though they 
could not use his work, actually increased his salary ? 
Whatever the cause, ' the Professor ' to the last 
maintained a pathetic silence." 

In June of this year Mr. Punch presented to the world 
his Fiftieth Volume, and the Punch staff, to mark the 
occasion, presented their beloved editor, Mark Lemon, 
with a watch, and a chain of eleven golden links to 
denote their golden number. In return he entertained 
the staff at a luncheon at Burnham Beeches, and made 
the following speech about the " Brotherhood of 
Punch " : — * 

" My friends, you have Hghtened my labour by your 
readiness at all times to help me all you can. We 
have never had a serious dispute. And in our so 
working together, proprietors and contributors, lies 
the secret of our great success. I received a pound 
a week at first for editing, but, as the success increased, 

* From Mr. Henry Silver's notes. 

283 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

my salary increased. Our Brotherhood shows that, 
irritable as authors may be called, they yet can work 
together, if joined by real friendship and working for 
a good end. And Punch has worked for a good end, 
and done really a great good. Shirley's admirable 
preface is not over-praise. Punch has blotted out the 
Age and the Satirist, and other vile publications 
which, before Punch existed, were the only amusing 
journals of the day." 

To the list of vile publications which Punch had 
blotted out Mark Lemon might have added one 
entitled Hell's News, which promised to report the 
fashionable doings there, and particularly to give a list 
of the " latest arrivals " ! 

" I suppose," said Shirley one day, " it was chiefly 
penned by printers' devils, but where the deuce they 
could expect to find a publisher I can't think, unless it 
were in Fiendland ! " * 

Shirley's " Preface " referred to by Mark Lemon 
was a very happy effort and was surmounted by a 
brilliant drawing by Charles Keene, of Mr. Punch in 
evening dress surrounded by the most prominent 
personages of the day : Tennyson, Millais, Bright, 
Kingsley, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and others, 
all excellent likenesses. Punch is on his legs replying 
to the toast of our present gracious King, then a slim 
and beardless stripling, who is seated on his right. 

In the evening the Staff dined at Maidenhead with 
the proprietors, who presented the Editor with a great 
silver cup. Then the Staff were toasted (and buttered) 
in their turn, and Shirley replied on their behalf. 

* Presumably " Finland." 

284 



MISS FURTARDO 

" We really are, you know, rather a Remarkable 
Lot," he began, and he concluded, " as for myself, 
I have given Punch my best work, and I never enjoy 
writing so much as for Punch. I was at Margate 
fifteen years ago, when Mark asked me to join. I 
began with ' Miss Violet,' and have rarely let a number 
pass without an article of mine. I am the connecting 
link between the old men and the new, and it will ever 
be my pride and pleasure to be with the men of Punch."* 

In September it had been suggested that the Friths 
and Brookses should again make holiday together, and 
Shirley wrote : — 

S. B. TO Mrs. Frith. 

" ' Punch ' Office, 

" BouvERiE Street, 

" Sept. 1st, 1866. 
" I send my dear Mrs. Frith a few lines to thank 
her very kindly and sincerely, but it must be Boulogne- 
upon-the-Sea. I have to work for du Maurier, and we 
must be together. Another year I hope we may make 
hoUday together — that is, if I am not divorced in the 
meantime. The fact is we went to the Adelphi last 
night, and had a box close to the stage. 
" Miss Furtardo ! ! ! 

" But I draw a veil over the scene. It was not my 
fault. I am susceptible. I have a large heart. I 
submit, perhaps, too easily, to fascinations. 

" There is no open quarrel yet. It may be averted. 
" But the truce can only be oiler. I have met my 
Fate. Think kindly of me if you can. 

" I am going to tr}^ whether partridges and cham- 
pagne will act as oil upon the troubled waters. I fear 
it will be only oil of vitriol. 

* From Mr. Silver's notes. 

285 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Again I say, think kindly of me. 

" It was HER fault that we got a box, mind that. 

" It was also her fault that we stayed to see ' Helen.' 
I wanted to go home and smoke. 

" But recriminations are idle. It was Fate — 
' Kismet,' as the Orientals say. I have forgiven my 
wife for being less attractive than Miss Furtardo. Can 
man do more ? Can woman ? Again I say, think 
kindly of the enamoured and remorseful 

" Shirley."* 

The channel boat joke recorded in the following 
letter was afterwards, I think, illustrated for Punch 
by du Maurier. The signature refers to the fact that 
Shirley stood godfather to Mrs. Frith' s youngest 
daughter, who was christened " Evelyn Shirley," and 
died the following year. 

S. B. TO Mrs. Frith. 

" Bedford Hotel, 

" CovENT Garden, 

" Sept. 22nd. 1866. 

** My dear Mrs. Frith, 

" Thank you very much for the kind invitation 
for Wednesday, of which, if I am in England on that 
day, I will gladly avail myself, but there seems to be 
a muddle between Paris and Dieppe, and I may have 
to run over previously. Do not, therefore, make any 
extensive preparations for me — a little turtle, some 
venison cutlets, an omelette (herb), some meringues 
and some of the best Burgundy will amply suffice my 
modest requirements, and if I do not come Frith may 
eat my share, and drink his own. Seriatim, however (as 



* Vide Frith's " Reminiscences," Vol. Ill, pp. 387-8. 

286 



"SHOTTEN HERRING" 

Joe Hume used to say, meaning ' seriously '), I hope to 
be with you, and welcome you home to London. The 
weather is simply beastly. The du Mauriers returned 
on Thursday, having had a good voyage. 

" I heard from my wife to-day, she complains of the 
excessive dullness of Paris, which I rather hope she 
leaves to-day : the longer I live, the more I am 
convinced that the British practice of leaving a com- 
fortable home, for a series of uncomfortable ones, is a 
piece of idiotcy, but we shall go on doing it till the end 
of the chapter. 

" I have nothing else to tell you except an epigram- 
matic remark made by an Englishman as we were 
crossing in the boat. When we were about half-way 
over he suddenly saw a friend on board. * Ah ! ' he 
said, ' you ! ' Then, inspired by a happy thought, 
he added, ' Are you going across ? ' which, as we were 
in the middle of the voyage, seemed probable, as there 
are no islands to touch at. But it did as well as 
anything else, and the other man was worthy of it, for 
he said, ' Well, I think so.' N.B.— Neither has 
capacity for the smallest chaff — it was bond fide. 

" That Dr. P.* did not poison the artist, that is clear, 
but I think he behaved very badly. I suppose his 
mind was demoralized from associating with artists. 
I am glad the Jew that hung the child in the cellar is 
going to be i"^ himself, but I trust the rope will 
break so that he may have a double dose. 

" ' Shooting ' at Bournemouth — what did the Wretch 
go out to shoot ?— herrings ? Now then, when he has 
done deriding the suggestion as nonsensical, perhaps 
he will remember that Shakespeare (if he ever heard 
of him), talks of a ' shotten herring.' Now then. 

* Dr. E. W. Pritchard, who poisoned his wife and mother-in-law 
with antimony, and was executed this year. 

287 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" But I will not longer detain you from your religious 
duties, for this should reach you on Sunday morning, 
and it is not for a godfather to treat such things lightly. 
" Ever Shirley's affectionate 

"S.P.O.N.S.O.R. 
" Love to the Portrait Painter.'* 

This year the commission was sitting to enquire into 
the case of Governor Eyre. The country was divided 
into two antagonistic parties, the one, headed by 
Carlyle, holding that " by his prompt action he had 
saved the white population," the other, by John 
Stuart Mill, that he was little better than a fiend in 
human shape. Punch sided with the Governor, and 
Shirley was turned on to express his sentiments in 
" The Bold Governor Eyre and the Bulls of Exeter 
Hall." I have space for but two verses : — 

" The victim, just now, of its blatter and blare, 
Is a brave British gentleman, Governor Eyre, 
Who, for saving Jamaica with powder and ball, 
Has roused all the malice of Exeter Hall. 

* ♦ * 

"But if, when the tale of Jamaica is told. 
The Queen gives her thanks to the Governor bold, 
What a bellow will burst from the favourite stall 
Of the big bulls of Bashan in Exeter Hall." 

As we know, Governor Eyre, so far from receiving his 
Sovereign's thanks, received his conge, and the big bulls 
of Bashan were saved the trouble of bellowing. 

The holiday of this year was spent in France, whence 
he wrote : — 

288 



AT BOULOGNE 

S. B. TO Mr. F. Evans. 

" No. 39 Hotel Folkestone, 

" BOULOGNE-S.-M., 

" Monday, Sept. lOth, 1866. 

" My dear Fred, 

" Just a line to say que nous sommes ici. The 
loveliest passage on Sunday I ever had — then a concert 
— and finally a ball, this not being a Christian country, 
as you know. Of course, we see the du Mauriers 
constantly. Neither is looking at all well, but they 
appear to have got over all terrors. The English have 
rushed away in loads, but there are still enough to take 
the place by a general insurrection, only it must be 
before dinner. Afterwards they would be over- 
powered and good-natured. I do not know, as yet, 
whether we shall * conclude ' to stay here any time. 
Du Maurier proposes to leave on Friday week. I 
merely write to give you my address, and I shall be 
glad to hear — and specially of an occasional evening 
paper. Kindest regards to the Firm and the Oblong. 

" Ever, 

"S. Brooks." 

S. B. TO Mr. Frith, R.A. 

" Wednesday, Sept. I9th, 1866. 

" Shegog the Faithful informs Cottle the Fair that 
I have come over to the United Kingdom alone. My 
wife is gone on to Paris, whence on Friday proxo. she 
will advance on Dieppe, with Mrs. and Miss Jerrold. 
There I shall, I think, join her next week. In the 
meantime I reside at the Bedford Hotel, Covent Garden, 
London. N.B. — Copy the address. N.B. — No. 2. 
D — the painters. I allude to the House Painters, not 
Grant and Co., of Trafalgar Square (at present, ha ! ha!) 

" What are you doing, how are you doing, and how 
do you like it ? We did not very much enjoy Boulogne, 

289 

20 — (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

I think. The weather was bad, so were the smells, and 
the cholera was raging. With these drawbacks and 
the infernal row, which prevented our sleeping a wink 
during the whole time we were there, 8 days, there was 
not much to complain of, but still I think that we did 
not much enjoy Boulogne. We went to several balls, 
at two of which our party, 5, formed the majority of 
the revellers. We ate many shrimps. We looked out 
at the window a great deal. These were our chief 
excitements, but a contented mind is a continual feast. 

" London is dull. I went into the Club yesterday, 
and found 4 men grumbling in the garret. I went in 
again at night, and found 5 men sleeping in the smoke 
room. 

" At Boulogne I was introduced to Mr. G. I reserve 
remarks until I know whether he is your bosom friend 
or not. He is not a good sailor. He dresses with 
neatness. His wife wears curls. These remarks 
cannot offend you, even if you wear him in your heart 
of hearts, ' as I do thee.' 

" ' A moral, sensible, and well-bred man 
Will not insult me — and no other can.' 

Cowper. 

" If you do not see the bearing of this quotation 
upon the preceding passage, telegraph to say so, and 
wait my reply. 

" I await yours, and with homage to Madame, 
"Am 

" Your respectful friend, 

" Shegog. 

" P.S. — You are going to ask me why there is no 
Artemus Ward in to-day's P.P. I am going to reply 
that I believe he sent in a contribution on some topic 
which Mark the Large thought would not be acceptable 
to the B.P. I have no reason to suppose that the 

290 



QUAINT ADVERTISEMENTS 

series will be discontinued. But I don't know, and 
I don't care, which is more. 

" I suppose you had not the delicacy to write to me 
to Boulogne. If you have had it, the letter will be 
brought over by Geo. Busson du Maurier, who leaves 
at XII to-night, with all his family, coming all the 
way by the boat which took 36 hours on her Monday 
voyage, roosting in Margate Roads. 

" Send the first of these advts. to Austin,* the place 
may suit him. I have myself applied for the second, 
and the answer was unfit for publication. 

"1. ' Wanted, an honest sober man, to wear the 
Advertising Coat. To a suitable person liberal 
wages given ; height not less than 8 ft. 9 in. 
Address Woodruff, Post Office, Sheffield. 
"2. 'A Lady deprived of a chaperon, wishes a 
Disengaged Gentleman about 30, as escort to 
a place of amusement. Address B. G., Post 
Office, Sale.' 
" If you have come to town, let me know, and I will 
come and dine with you. Do not, however, come up 
with the family on purpose ! " 

In October he had rejoined Mrs. Brooks in France. 

S. B. TO Mr. Frith, R.A. 
" Hotel des Bains, 

{Bains is the French for bath, hut 
there are none in the house,) 
" Dieppe, Normandy, 
" France, 
" Monday, Oct. 8th, 1866. 

" My dear Cottle, 

" I write because I said I would write, and to keep 
his promises is the folly of civilized man — the savages 
know better. 

* The present poet-laureate. 

291 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Id we sommes, but ici we shall not etre, I suppose, 
when this letter is delivered, as we propose to go home 
in a day or two. Not that I wish to go, for the place 
is delightful, and the weather heavenly, but business 
is business, and not pleasure, and to attend to business 
is the folly of civilized man — savages know better. 

" I wish with all my cceur that you were here ; you 
would thoroughly enjoy it. If you want to be active, 
there are the loveliest walks, and hills, and ruins ; 
and if you wish to be idle (which I generally do), there 
is a glorious sea, with a huge grass place — ' La Plage ' — 
before it, and we look upon that. The season is quite 
over, and so much the better says Shegog, who does 
not habitually dress three times per day, as is Parisian 
custom here. Very good living, and I have drunk to 
you frequently in Burgundy, and brought my spirits 
to Burgundy pitch, which you will not confound with 
the stuff used for fastening ships together — I don't 
mean two ships together, but the planks of one. 

" Henry the Quatre gained the battle of Ivry here, 
and the Dieppois are still celebrated for their carving 
in ivory. I have enjoyed myself severely, and I can 
confidently recommend Dieppe. To be sure, I have not 
yet paid my bill, but as my landlord says that a cheque 
will do perfectly well, I consider that matter as off 
everybody's mind. 

" The Cathohc religion is established here, but 
Protestantism is tolerated, or I would not have re- 
mained a day. We English show our rehgion on 
Sundays by wearing hats instead of wide-awakes, and 
smoking at the windows instead of in the garden before 
the house. It is gratifying to see such evidences of 
Christianity in a foreign land. 

" The posts are the devil here, and it is a bore. All 
letters go to Paris, and though one is but sixty miles 
from England, you won't have this till Wednesday, 

292 



C. H. BENNETT AND HIS HAIR 

I believe ; but as you are not standing at the door 
waiting for it, you may not feel the delay so keenly as 
you otherwise would have done. The missis is now 
eager to get home — pardonable ambition in a mere de 
famille — but I am not impatient, and should like to stay 
another fortnight. Mrs. Milner-Gibson is here, and 
we have been for an excursion with her to Arques, 
where is an awfully fine old ruined castle, built by 
William the Bastard, conqueror of you Anglais. There 
are some pleasant travellers at our hotel, and we lie 
to one another over our cigars about the Marquises 
and Royal Academicians whom we say we know. 
The filles de chambre are rather to be respected than 
admired. The beds are good, but have those springs 
which squeal out every time one moves a limb. 

" I have heard from nobody here, which is the more 
singular as I gave nobody my address. I have not 
improved my mind here in the least, and my diary 
would (if kept) resemble the young fellow's letter to his 
father from Italy : ' The Alps is a very high mountain, 
and bullocks fetches no prices at all.' * Dieppe is a 
sunny place, and cigars are 2Jd.' 

" I beg kindest, and, at the same time, most respect- 
ful compliments to your good lady (I allude to Mrs. 
Frith) from me and mine. 

" Agreez, etc., 
" Shegog, in partihiis infidelucm."* 

By the end of October he was back in London, as 
I learn from a delightful episode related in Mr. 
Spielmann's " History of Ptmch," which he will forgive 
me for quoting in full : — 

" Another of Punch's favourite sons was Charles H. 
Bennett. His life was a hard yet a happy one, and 

* Vide Frith's " Reminiscences," Vol. Ill, pp. 183-6. 

293 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

his career was short, though not too short for fame ; 
and the last two years during which he sat at the 
Table were perhaps the merriest of them all. But his 
attendances, really owing to the illness which ultimately 
bore him down, were irregular. This irregularity, 
combined with his habit, then commoner even than 
now among artists, of wearing his hair very long, 
brought him one day a letter from his friends and 
fellow-diners in the following terms : — 

* " Punch " Council, October 24th, 1866. 

' Present : — Lemon W. H. Bradbury 

Evans G. du Maurier 

Horace Mayhew Evans fits 

Tom Taylor S. Brooks 

Leigh Tenniel 
* Resolved : — 

* That this meeting deeply sympathises with C. H. 

Bennett on the state of his hair. 

* That this meeting appreciates the feeling which 

detains the said Bennett from the Council until 
his hair shall have been cut. 
' That this meeting deplores the impecuniosity 
which prevents the said Bennett from attending 
a barber. 

* That this meeting, anxious to receive the said 

Bennett to its bosom, once more organizes a 
subscription to enable him to attend the said 
barber. 

* That this company, having (limited) confidence 

in Mr. Mark Lemon, entrusts him with the 
following subscriptions in aid of the above 
object, and requests him to communicate with 
the aforesaid Bennett to the end that he may 
have his d — hair cut and rejoin the assembly 
of the brethren. 

294 



PARTING KICK TO 1866 



' (Signed) 



Mark Lemon 


. 


s. 




d. 


Frederick Evans . . 


. 







Percival Leigh 


. 







Horace Mayhew . . 
Tom Taylor 
W. H. Bradbury . . 
George du Maurier 


. 
. 
. 
. 










F. M. Evans 


.. 







Shirley Brooks 
J . Tenniel 


. 
. 








Stamps enclosed 


.£0 





lb 



" And these ten penny stamps, together with the 
letter, are to this day treasured by the artist's son." 

So ends the record for the year 1866, a year of which 
Shirley was apparently not sorry to see the end, for he 
wrote " Our Parting Kick to 1866," beginning : — 

" Get out, old year, get out, get out, 
And don't keep lingering here about. 
We don't care whether you've got the gout, 
Or what's the matter, but just get out ! 
You stupid, sorrowful, sad old year 
You maundering, mischievous, mad old year, 
Oh law, we're heartily glad, old year. 
To enjoy the kicking you out ! " 

Happily there was still hope in the future and he 

concluded : — 

" Come in. New Year, with your hopeful smile. 
To end our ditty of blare and bile. 
That mean old cuss was enough to rile 
An angel's temper, but you'll strike He. 
You nice, no naughtiness, neat new year. 
You smiling, saucy face, sweet new year. 
Your look increases the treat, my dear, 
Of kicking that old Cad out ! " 

295 



CHAPTER XV 



1867-1868 — The Tomahawk — Death of Charles Bennett — Summer 
Holidays — Letters to Bradbury — Letters to Mr. Frith — 
Ramsgate — Home News — Letters to P. Leigh and Mrs. George 
— " Ponny " Mayhew's Dinner — Mrs. Frank Romer (Mrs. 
Jopling Rowe) — Letters to P. Leigh. 

ANY as have been Punch's 
rivals, few have given 
such brilHant promise as 
the short -hved Toma- 
hawk, which had its be- 
ginning in 1867. Shirley, 
of course, had nothing to 
do with its publication, 
but he was indirectly 
responsible for its title.* 
One day at the Punch Table conversation 
turned on the Saturday Review, which had 
decreased greatly both in interest and circulation since 
it had given up the vinegar and pepper trade and taken 
to supplying the public with sugar plums and treacle. 
Shirley regretted the change, and said with his usual 
quickness that he had a good mind to start the 
Latterday Review to take up the old business. Then it 
struck him that that would be plagiarising Carlyle, 
and he thought the Tomahawk would be a better title. 




* From Mr. Silver's notes. 



296 



Tjr >> 



THE "TOMAHAWK 

It should be " wielded " by a staff of slashing critics, 
and its motto should be " We'll always axe our way ! " 
Probably he repeated the joke elsewhere. At any rate 
the Tomahawk immediately came into existence with 
its splendid series of cartoons by Matt Morgan, and 
under the editorship of one who has since played a large 
part in the history of its great rival, one indeed who for 
long held the same prominent position on the staff which 
Shirley held during the editorship of Mark Lemon. 

On the 2nd of April of this year* Shirley received a 
letter from Lemon announcing the untimely death 
of their much-loved colleague, Charles Bennett — " A 
man," Shirley indorsed on the letter, " whom one 
could not help loving for his gentleness, and a wonder- 
ful artist." " He was," he wrote in Punchy " a very 
able colleague, a very dear friend. None of our fellow- 
workers ever entered more heartily into his work, 
or laboured with more earnestness to promote our 
general purpose. His facile execution and singular 
subtilty of fancy were, we hoped, destined to enrich 
these pages for many a year. It has been willed 
otherwise, and we lament the loss of a comrade of 
invaluable skill, and the death of one of the kindliest 
and gentlest of our associates, the power of whose hand 
was equalled by the goodness of his heart." 

Bennett was but thirty-seven when he died, and the 
fact that he left a widow and eight children afforded 
just one of those opportunities which Punch and his 
staff were always ready to seize. 

* Vide Everitt's " English Caricaturists." 

297 ... 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" We shall have to do something," wrote Shirley, 
and something to good purpose they accordingly did. 
A committee was at once formed and a performance 
in aid arranged at the Adelphi. Between the two 
parts of the entertainment Shirley came on and 
delivered an address, written by him for the occasion, 
from which I quote a few lines : — 

" You knew his power, his satire keen and fair, 
And the rich fancy, served by skill as rare. 
You did not know, except some friendly few, 
That he was earnest, gentle, patient, true." 

Amongst the performers was that delightful actress. 
Miss Kate Terry, who was just about to be married to 
Mr. Arthur James Lewis, to which fact Shirley made 
the following graceful and half-regretful allusion : — 

" Last, but not least, in your dear love and ours 
There is a head we'd crown with all our flowers. 
Our kindest thanks to her whose smallest grace 
Is the bewitchment of her fair young face. 
Our own Kate Terry comes, to show how much 
The truest art does with the lightest touch. 
Make much of her while still before your eyes, 
A star may gUde away to other skies." 

By this performance and a second given at Man- 
chester, together with Shirley's unstinted labour to 
the same end, a large sum was raised and handed to 
the sorrowing widow. It was but one example of the 
spirit which has always actuated the Punch staff — 
never to be backward in succouring a stricken comrade 
and those dependent upon him. 

The summer holiday of this year was spent in 
England. 

298 



i 


^' 


^ 


^^ <^' 


' ct 


J 


^ 


r 
1 < 






'O 



ON HOLIDAY 

S. B. TO W. H. Bradbury. 

" Rev. p. Cudlip's, 

" Yealhampton, 

" Devonshire. 
" Sunday, Sept. 8th, 1867. 

" My dear William, 

" We have been rambling from these our head 
quarters, and sleeping away in regions where the Times 
is not a power, though the Western Daily News is one. 
So I have seen an interesting announcement only in 
going through my file this day. W^e are rejoiced to 
learn that Mrs. William's trouble is happily over, and 
my wife begs to join me in best wishes for the speedy 
convalescence of the mamma and the present and 
future welfare of the baby. Perhaps you will kindly 
convey that greeting, and thereby make it the more 
acceptable. 

" This is a glorious country and I am delighted with 
it, but it is hard work to rest as I am now doing, that is, 
being taken up and down the most night-mare-ish hills, 
at full speed, all day, and indeed part of the night. 
Ex pede Herculem — we yesterday did a moor, and got 
home at midnight, having, on the previous day done 
Totnes, Dartmouth, Torquay, and another moor. 
But I am very well, and eat and sleep like Mark Lemon, 
including noble snoring. He might have sent me a line 
from the Council, an ungrateful and bloated Kuss. 
We shall be here a few days longer. You won't get 
this till Tuesday, as Sunday's post goes out before one 
is well awake. Remember me to all the friends who 
gather for the helhsh orgy on Wednesday, and to Fred, 
when you write, and believe me 

** Ever yours sincerely, 

" My dear W. H. B., 

" Shirley Brooks. 
" W. H. Bradbury." 

299 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

S. B. TO Mr. Frith, R.A. 
" Esplanade, 

" Penzance, 
" Saturday, Sept. 21 st, 1867. 

" My dear Cottle, 

" * Behold 'em 'ere ! ' 'Ere is not Penzance, but 
Ilfracombe, Devonshire. The above represents feebly 
(I am now critical in art, for I have got the very house 
occupied last year by Tom Taylor), the stunning hotel 
at Penzance where we were exceedingly comfortable 
for some days, and whence we made ' excrescences ' 
to the Land's End and other wonderful works of 
nature. ' It is a holy thing,' said Mr. Squeers, ' to be 
in a state of nature.' 

" This reminds me that we went down a copper-mine, 
half-a-mile under the sea, by a wire rope tied to a car 
about as big as a coal-scuttle — a sensation ! — but a 
previous sensation was reading in the guide-book, 
' Before descending you must divest yourself of every 

article of apparel, and ' Here I closed the book, 

and put it away as S — b — ian, but learning that you 
could compromise by taking off your coat and tucking 
up your trowsers, and putting on a miner's dress, white, 
splashed with yellow mud, I reconsidered the subject. 
You should have seen Mrs. Shirley in a long white 
thing like a vast nightgown, and with a thick yellow 
dreadnought ! But she did the perilous descent 
gallantly, commending her soul to the supreme powers, 
and the splashes through the crevices to the devil 
(I believe). 

" The Duke of Cornwall, Plymouth, is a splendid 
new hotel, with all the comforts, and close to the train. 
We did all the sights, including the Breakwater, which 
is not worth doing. But the coast scenery of both 
Cornwall and Devon is glorious. Very likely I am 
telling you what you know, for Reynolds was born in 

300 



ILFRACOMBE 

Devonshire, and you might have been born anywhere 
you chose. We have done an awful lot, and I am 
glad to have got to a resting-place for a week in this 
lovely place. We are on the top of a high hill, and 
see Lundy Isle, Wales, Jerusalem, and Madagascar ; 
and to-day we are going to have squab-pie and junket. 

" From du Maurier I glean that you are all a happy 
colony, and I hope to see you after we get back. At 
Helston there were two pictures, regarded as household 
treasures. One was ' Coming of Age,' and the other 
the ' Sports in the Olden Time.' I obtained much 
kudos by saying that I knew the painter — that I had 
stood for the young heir ; and the grandad in the other 
was Spurgeon, to whom I had introduced you when you 
persuaded him to sit to you. This will become a 
Cornish legend. At Plymouth Station there is a three- 
legged cat, and not a Manx cat (good), but one whose 
leg was cut off by a railway-engine. This is the most 
remarkable thing I have seen, except the Devil's 
Bellows at Kinance Bay, which is more remarkable ; 
but I do not know why. 

" I have had my hair cut by a barber called Pether- 
wick Peninluma ; and I have had my old shoes mended 
for Is. 9d., and they are more comfortable than my 
new ones, which cost a guinea. Such, my Cottle, is a 
lesson that should teach us how little real value there 
is in money, on which, moreover. Providence sets no 
store, or He would not bestow it on the unworthy, like 

; but no matter, I am in charity with all mankind. 

My address is 5 Castle Terrace, Ilfracombe. Give us 
a hail ! My wife says I have taken her ' out of the 
world.' She eats well, however, for an angel. 

" Ever faithfully yours, 

" Shirley Brooks."* 

* Vide Frith's " Reminiscences." 

301 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

In October the Brookses joined the Friths at 
Ramsgate. Here is a gUmpse of the interesting 
group of people, which went to make this hoHday 
memorable. 

"Think," writes Mrs. Panton to me, "of the 
Sotherns, the du Mauriers, the Twisses, ourselves and 
the Shirley Brookses, the Calderons, Oscar Deutsch,* 
flushed with his success from the article on the Talmud 
in the Quarterly which caused a most profound sensa- 
tion . . . the Yateses, she the most beautiful creature 
I ever saw or ever shall see, and he the kindest of men. 
I can see the scene now . . . my father and Mrs. Yates 
on the balcony, Shirley and I talking from the balcony 
to Mr. Calderon and Mr. Deutsch in the garden ; while 
at the piano in the lighted drawing-room du Maurier 
was singing like a nightingale, ' The Long, Long, Weary 
Day.' Mrs. du Maurier, beautiful, stately, and above 
all sweet and motherly, talking to my mother." 

The day after his return home Shirley wrote : — 

S. B. TO Mr. Frith, R.A. 

" London, 

"Oct. \2th, 1867. 

" My dear Cottle, 

" What a time it seems since I saw you ! Absti- 
nence — I mean absence — makes the heart grow fonder 
— of somebody else. Oh, ile of booty (Thanet) fare 
thee well ! 

" I heard all you said when we went away. You 
forgot the echo of the tunnel. But it was nearly true, 
only I am not a cigar-smoking porpoise that fancies 

* The well-known Semitic author. 

302 



RAMSGATE V. MARGATE 

himself a bird of Paradise, and it would not be better 
if I talked less and read more. The allusion to my 
gray hair and frivolity I forgive, because gray hair is 
better than none at all. But you had no right to say 
that I ' looked a cad, and you were glad none of your 
noble patrons were on the platform,' because I have 
always spoken well of you in low newspapers ; and as 
for O'Neil laughing at your wit (?), that is the only 
way he pays for his mammoth breakfasts and mastodon 
dinners. The ladies' remarks I forgive, because I have 
heard them say much worse things of you. La Belle 
Fanny is, however, wrong in saying my wife is sixty ; 
she is only fifty-three next week. Sissy was right 
(and I thank your sweet child for her courage) in saying 
that she didn't care what any of you said, I was the 
only lively, unaffected, playful guest (who combined 
the paternal, fraternal, and infernal) you had had 
since you came to that detestable and snobbish 
Ramsgate. 

" We had our other crosses. At Margate got in a 
handsome woman (my wife says she wasn't, but she 
was,) and three of the most villainously ugly 'brats ever 
permitted to live. Also a man with a dog. The little 
beasts — four — yelped, howled, ran about the carriage, 
growled in tunnels, and otherwise misbehaved them- 
selves all the way ; and the mother smiled as if they 
were angels. And all I could do was to pinch the 
child nearest to me, and sniff haughtily, as Ramsgate 
sniffs at Margate, and ask the guard whether there 
were no places in the third class into which we could 
get. If the mother had been ugly, I would have blown 
up ; but she had the sweetest smile, and so 

" My kind love to Mrs. Frith, who is the only one, 
except Siss, that appreciates me. I am heartily glad 
to get back to my own vine and my own tooth-brush. 
Accept the enclosed unpublished trifle : — 

303 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" When lovely woman grows too jolly, 

And scarcely minds what things she says, 
And when her lover, melancholy. 
Reproves her for her flirting ways, 

The only mode retreat to cover. 

To hit him hard with her reply ; 
In fact, to quite shut up that lover 

And make him wretched, is to — cry. 

" Love to you all, though you don't deserve it. 

" From yours ever, 

"S. B."* 

We have seen that Shirley's first editorship, that of 
the Literary Gazette, was but short-lived. His second 
was destined, like his third, to endure to the last year 
of his life. 

In 1847 Messrs. Grindlay and Company, combining 
private enterprise with public spirit, had founded a 
weekly periodical for India called Home News. When 
this was five years old an Australian edition was started, 
and forthwith the twin papers bounded ahead. During 
its brilliant and successful career of over fifty years 
Home News numbered amongst its editors such men as 
A. B. Wright, Robert Bell, G. A. Sala, T. H. S. Escott, 
Edward Salmon and Shirley Brooks. On the death of 
Robert Bell this year [1867] the editorship was offered 
to, and accepted by, Shirley, between whom and 
Mr. Matthews, a member of the firm, a close friendship 
was sealed which lasted, like most of Shirley's 
friendships, as long as life. 

Of his incessant toil and loyal devotion to his new 
employers until, seven years later, his busy fingers 

* Vide Frith 's " Reminiscences." 

304 



"HOME NEWS" 

laid down the pen for ever, it is impossible to do more 
than say what might be said of all that he ever under- 
took, — that he never spared himself in the performance 
of his duty, that he gave of his best, which was very 
good, and that he was cut off from its continuance in 
the plenitude of his powers to the regret of all who 
knew him. 

Here is a pleasant little account of his friendship 
with the Matthews family, kindly sent to me by Miss 
Matthews, the " Torie " of the Diaries. 

" We knew Mr. Shirley Brooks," writes Miss 
Matthews, " from the time he took the editorship of 
my father's paper, the Home News, until his death in 
1874, and he became an intimate and valued friend. 

" It was at a time of his life when the strain of work 
was beginning to tell, and he seemed to find refreshment 
and pleasure in frequent visits to our country cottage, 
an easy journey from London. He was often accom- 
panied by his wife and sons, but more often came 
alone when the boys and their mother were spending 
the holidays by the seaside or elsewhere and when his 
work obliged hiim to be in or near London. As I write 
the vivid recollection of such visits comes back to me, 
when he would arrive weary and jaded and, after resting 
awhile perhaps on a favourite long couch or on the 
grass under a large cedar tree, find amusement in 
composing nonsense verses for the younger ones, or in 
helping a harassed school girl to remember dry historical 
dates by turning them into humorous rhymes, throwing 
his harness aside in fact and entering thoroughly into 
the home life of the family circle. In between such 
visits his frequent letters, sparkling with spontaneous 
wit and gay good humour, with pretty allusions to 
public and private passing events, were eagerly looked 

305 

21— (3297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

for and appreciated by the young people as well as 
by the elders. Apart from his always interesting com- 
ments and criticisms on public topics and amusing 
anecdotes, there was a graceful atmosphere, an elusive 
charm about his letters which defies description. They 
seemed to come not only from the clever head, but 
straight from the warm heart. He was a genial host 
and the remembrance of many pleasant evenings at 
6 Kent Terrace remains with us, especially the famous 
New Year's Eve parties to which both Mr. and Mrs. 
Brooks loved to welcome their friends, when mutual 
good wishes were exchanged just before midnight, and 
the New Year was ushered in by a graceful little speech. 
Once, too, the occasion was marked by Mr. Brooks's 
health being proposed by Artemus Ward with a grave 
humour which delighted us all. He would often dine 
with us, and sometimes joined our larger gatherings, 
and he made on (what proved to be) the last Xmas day 
of his life a happy memory to us all by toasting the 
large party after dinner in verses he composed for the 
occasion, each one containing a special word for the 
individual named, showing how fully he entered into 
the intimate life of ourselves and the friends gathered 
round our table. 

" Although most of the friends of his early life must 
have passed away, there may be some living who 
knew him better than we did, and for a longer period 
of his life, but we always thought he showed us one side 
of his character which was not visible to all ; he seemed 
to expand in the atmosphere of unreserved appreciation, 
and showed in return an affectionate gratitude which, 
although we felt it to be wholly out of proportion, yet 
endeared him to young and old in the household." 

An undated letter, probably of this year, suggests a 
subject for the " Professor's " pen. 

306 



CHEATING THE DOCTOR 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 
" Thursday. 

" My dear Professor, 

" Will you, if not better engaged, do me the 
pleasure of dining with me at * Our Club ' (Clunn's, 
Piazza, Covent Garden) on Saturday next, day after 
to-morrow, at 6 o'clock. I am, for my sins, in the 
chair. Pater and other friends will be there, and 
contribute to the discord of the evening. Do, and 
you can of course leave in time for any 'bus — all the 
fun is over by 10. 

"... I wish you saw your way to a few lines on a 
report in to-day's Times. Bottom of a column. In 
which a medical man very properly took security for 
his fees for attending a pauper, and the jury had the 
impudence to regret it. They are tradesmen : would 
they have let the pauper have beef, beer, etc., without 
security ? But always cheat the Doctor is the rule 
with the lower creation. It is in your line. 

*' Ever yours affectionately, 
"S. Brooks." 

A friend of former days has read his novel, " Sooner 
or Later," and writes asking for his autograph. 

S. B. to Mrs. Thorne George. 
" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 
" Sunday, Feb. 9th, 1868. 

" My dear Mrs. George, 

" I sent off a paper in sign that I had received 
your note yesterday, being too much hurried to answer 

307 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

it, as I now hasten to do. I enclose the autograph 
with much pleasure, and I will look up a few others 
which may be acceptable. 

" Your note was a very welcome reminder of very 
pleasant times, to which I often recur. It was when 
the polka was a new and fashionable dance, which we 
did with elaborate pantomime. What is dancing ? 
I know something about dining, but the other word 
has no meaning for me. The enclosed is the last efhgy 
of the undersigned ; he has a wife and two sons, the 
latter at school, and one of them proud of his first black 
eye, gained in fighting. 

" I am always pleased when a friend likes my books. 
This last has been remarkably successful, but it is said 
to be objectionable, I am very sorry, I didn't mean 
to be naughty, I only told the truth, I won't do it again. 

" I hope you will write to me again and tell me 
something about your family. 
" Believe me, 

" My dear Mrs. George, 

" Yours most sincerely, 
" Shirley Brooks. 
" Mrs. Thorne George." 

About the same time he has a laugh at Mr. Frith 
over the current value of his autograph. 

S. B. TO Mr. Frith, R.A. 

" My dear C E, 

" You always said you were a humorous party, 
but I never before had printed proof in support of 
the truth of your assertion. Here we are, however. 
I mean to buy this. It is from an autograph-seller's 
catalogue just received : — 

'"116 Frith (W. P.) 

' Humorous Note. 2 pp., 8vo., Oct. 14, 1855. 2s.' 
Vide your diary for date, and see to whom you writ 

308 



" PONNY " MAYHEW 

humorously; it was before you were honoured with 
the intimacy and confidence, not to say respect and 

esteem, of 

"S. B."* 

On the 11th July of this year (1868), " Ponny^" 
Mayhew stood the Staff a dinner at the " Albion," f 
"pourfeter son Cinquantaine," as he expressed it, for he 
would, as Shirley remarked, now and then let his bad 
French get the better of him. Shirley was, as usual, 
the hfe and soul of the party, providing a birthday 
ode which du Maurier sang to a nondescript melody 
of his own manufacture. J It ran as follows and is 
eloquent of the high estimation in which Horace was 
held :— 

" A health to our Ponny, whose birthday we 
The cheer shall be loud, and the cup shall be deep. 
We drain it with old supernaculum§ trick, 
And we heartily hail him no end of a Brick. 

" Is he perfect ? why no, that is hardly the case ; 
If he were, the Punch Table would not be his place. 
You all have your faults — I confess one or two — 
And we love him the better for having a few. 

" But compared to us chaps, he's an angel of light, 
And a nimbus encircles his caput so white. 
Our jolly old hermit ! the worst we can say 
Is to call him a slave to wine, women, and play. 

* Vide Frith's " Reminiscences." j From Mr. Silver's notes- 
I In " The True Story of Punch " Shirley is said to have sung as 

well as written it, but this is a mistake. 
§ Literally " on the nail," from an old custom of concluding a 

drink by reversing the glass and showing that no more was left than 

would rest on the thumb-nail. 

309 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Good things in their way, and much better, you know. 
Than going the length that some gentlemen go — 
I won't mention names, but if law had it's right, 
A respectable party were smaller to-night. 

" He never did murder, like — never mind whom, 
Nor poisoned relations, like — some in this room ; 
Nor deceived young ladies, like — men whom I see. 
Nor even intrigued with a gosling — like me. 

" No ; black are our bosoms, and red are our hands, 
But a model of virtue our Ponniboy stands ; 
And his basest detractors can only say this, 
That he's fond of the cup, and the card, and the kiss. 

" A warm-hearted fellow — a faithful ally, 
Our Bloater's Vice-Regent o'er Punches gone by ; 
He's as true to the flag of the White Friars still, 
As when he did service with Jerrold and Gill. 

" His health in a bumper ! ' Old ' Ponny — a fib ; 
What's fifty ? A baby. Bring tucker and bib. 
Add twenty ; then ask us again, little boy, 
And till then may your life be all pleasure and joy ! " * 

Then Keene sang '* There were Three Ravens," with 
tears in his deep bass voice. This was followed by 
Shirley improvising a new version of an old convivial 
chorus : — 

" Here's to the writer of horrible books, 
And the rhyme may remind you of one, Shirley Brooks ! 
Viva la compagnie," etc., etc. 

And the entertainment concluded by Shirley pro- 
posing the health of Mark Lemon, not merely as a good 
Editor, who never snubbed his writers, but as a com- 
fortable, corpulent personage, whom there was no fear 
of mistaking for anybody else, as the man did who, 

* Vide " The True Story of Punch," by Joseph Hatton in 
London Society, 1875. 

310 



ACTING EDITOR OF "PUNCH" 

when asked whether he knew the Siamese twins, repHed 
" I rather think that I've met one of them, but I forget 
exactly which." 

In August Shirley was in London acting locum tenens 
for Mark Lemon. 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" Bedford Hotel, 
" CovENT Garden, 
" W.C. 

"August nth, 1868. 

" My dear Professor, 

" I have a line from my wife, who mentions that 
Mrs. Leigh, your brother and yourself, were kind 
enough to meet her, and put her in the right way for 
the voyage. I had much compunction in telegraphing, 
for I thought I might detain your brother later in 
S'hampton than he would care to stay, but I ventured 
to trespass on his kindness, and I am heartily obliged 
to you all. It was well, I fancy, that my folks went 
early. I shall hear to-morrow. 

" The above will be my best address, the British 
Workman having extruded me from my house, in which 
I linger to write this. But I shall sleep in better air 
than that of my dear old Covent Garden. Yet the 
leads on the top of the club after dark, and with cool 
drink, are not a bad place for a smoke, and we see 
many fireworks for nothing. 

" Please remember that I shall be on duty for a 
month, in Mark's absence, and send me anything of 
suggestion, without boring yourself, that occurs. 
The paper will gladly pay telegraph, should anything 
occur at a late moment to you. 

" Once more, my kindest regards to Mr. and Mrs. 

311 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Fred. I have been telling his workhouse story with 
the greatest success to the 3 people left in London. 
" Du Maurier a 4th child, a princess. 

" Ever yours, 

"S. B." 

This year the Gentleman's Magazine first appeared 
as a shilling serial under the editorship of Joseph 
Hatton, the proprietors being Messrs. Bradbury and 
Evans. Shirley was from the beginning a contributor, 
and afterwards, in Hatton' s words, " wrote some 
of the most charming of all the charming essays which 
appeared in those early days of the new series, when 
the magazine could afford to pay writers well." 

It was somewhere about this time that he struck 
up a friendship, which lasted to the end of his life, with 
a lady who has since made herself famous. Mrs. 
Jopling Rowe was then Mrs. Frank Romer. 

" I had," she writes to me, " just returned from 
Paris after a residence of four years, where during the 
last sixteen months of my stay I had commenced my 
artistic training under Monsieur Chaplin. We were 
on a visit to my husband Frank Romer' s parents, in 
St. John's Wood. I, my husband, and my two little 
boys. In those days it was a delightful treat to be 
invited to take tea at the old Bedford Hotel, Covent 
Garden, where one would invariably meet such cele- 
brities as Thackeray, Mark Lemon, Shirley Brooks, and 
a host of lesser lights. It was here I was introduced 
to Shirley Brooks. He was delightful to talk to, 
brilliant and helpful. You at once felt at your ease 
with him, his kindliness was unbounded. You had 
only to mention incidentally that you wanted to read 

312 



A HELPING HAND 

such and such a book, when he would either lend it to 
you himself, or go out of his way to borrow it for you. 
" About that time, I had utilized a pretty maid as 
model. She had plenty of spare moments, as the family 
were at the seaside, and nothing gratified her vanity 
more than being painted by me. It turned out rather 
a pretty little picture, and I sent it for exhibition to 
a small gallery called the Corinthian, This called 
forth the following letter from Mr. Brooks : — 

S. B. TO Mrs. F. Romer (Mrs. Jopling Rowe). 

" ' Bedford Hotel, 

" ' Sunday, November I4th. 

" ' My dear Mrs. Romer, 

" ' A friend of mine, who writes on art in the 
Observer, was going the other day to the Corinthian 
Gallery, so I bade him Observer your picture. He says, 
to-day, '' Among the contributors best known in Art 
are so-and-so, and so-and-so ; Miss L. Romer, with a 
neatly executed single half-figure. No. 240." 

" * It is hardly worth mention to you, but it is an 
excuse for wishing you many happy returns of the day 
on which you receive this, and all sorts of success in 
your profession. 

" ' Very faithfully, 

" ' Shirley Brooks. 
" ' Mrs. F. Romer, Jun.' " 

This was very characteristic of Shirley's thoughtful- 
ness. Hard-pressed as he always was, he was never 
too busy to write to any young friend who might chance 
to need a word of encouragement. 

Nor was his a merely perfunctory solicitude to be 
satisfied by a note dashed off and done with. When 
once his interest was aroused he continued to bear 

313 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

about in his over-crowded mind the needs of his young 
friends. We all know that Mrs. Jopling Rowe has 
" arrived," but she is not too proud to own that 
Shirley was the good fairy who made the uphill road 
easier for the Mrs. Frank Romer of those days. Here 
is a letter which speaks for itself : — 

S. B. TO Mrs. F. Romer (Mrs. Jopling Rowe). 
" My dear Mrs. Frank Romer, 

" This note is only to show you that I am bearing 
your wishes in mind. I have been asking Mr. O'Neil 
(one of the Associates) about the Royal Academy. 
He says (but I may be telling you only what you know) 
that the first thing is for a candidate to draw a large 
(imperial paper size) copy of an ancient statue. This 
is sent to the Keeper (Charles Landseer, whom I know 
well), and it is submitted to a council which meets to 
judge such things. A letter from some ' known ' 
person, introducing the student, accompanies it. I am 
told that, if you ever think of sending, my humble name 
is enough for you. H approved as of good promise, 
the sketch will suffice to make the executant a Proba- 
tioner, and she is admitted for 3 months, during which 
time she must do another from the antique. If this 
is as good as the first, or at all events affords promise, 
she is made a Student. No fees. Possibly you know 
all this, but as I did not, I send my newly acquired 
learning. 

" Ever yours, 

** Shirley Brooks." 

" The ' No fees,* " Mrs. Jopling Rowe writes, " was 
purposely underlined as we were at that time in the 
unpleasant position of not possessing a farthing of our 
own. In the meantime I was working away in my 

314 



A PRETTY MODEL 

temporary home, chiefly using my bedroom as my 
studio." 

Then the young student must be introduced to 
his friend, the celebrated painter, and he arranges a 
visit. 

In the course of the drive to Mr. Frith's house, Shirley 
remarked on the pretty looks and nice manner of 
Mrs. Romer's " model " maid, who had opened the door 
to him. 

" It annoys me," he said, " if I am discourteously 
treated at the threshold of a friend's door. I remember 
once calling on someone, and the maid in her rudest 
manner told me he was not in, and shut the door in my 
face. I felt I must be revenged upon her somehow, 
so I returned after an interval of five minutes, rang the 
bell, and in my meekest manner mildly said, ' Did I say 
he was ? ' " 

The visit to the celebrated Royal Academician 
resulted in unexpected and, as it proved, very sound 
advice. 

" Don't go to the Academy Schools," he said, "you 
have been taught on a different method, and you might 
lose your originality if you began all over again. 
Go on working as you are doing — by yourself." 

" And," naively writes Mrs. Rowe, " having asked 
his advice, I did a strange thing. I followed it." 

Nor was the introduction of the student to the 
painter the end of Shirley's interest in the matter. 
The following Monday he writes that he must see her 
and talk over the advice which Mr. Frith had given. 
If the young artist could not go to see him, the busy 

315 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

journalist would make it his business to go to see her. 
Of course, the young artist made his convenience hers 
and was well rewarded. First he enlarged upon all 
the encouraging things that Mr. Frith had said to her. 
And then, in the most delicate manner, he said he wanted 
her to paint his portrait whenever she felt inclined to 
undertake it, and in the meantime there was five pounds 
for canvases, paints and brushes which, of course, 
were serious items when a purse had little or nothing 
init ! 

A little later he acts as godfather to a little poem she 
had written, " Lux e Tenebris/' and writes : — 

S. B. TO Mrs. Frank Romer (Mrs. Jopling Rowe). 
" My dear Mrs. Frank, 

" I was just going to write to you. Firstly, I have 
the pleasure of informing you that your poem will 
appear in the April number of the Gentleman's Maga- 
zine, and I hope you will not much disapprove of a 
verbal alteration or two which I have ventured on 
merely on technical grounds. I have desired that the 
earliest possible number may be posted to you. 
Secondly, I doubt whether I shall have the pleasure of 
seeing you to-morrow, because, unless the wind walks 
round again into the bitter East, I propose to go 
to Crawley for three or four days for a little air. I am 
as stupid as any old owl, between being in the house 
and taking morphia. But I want particularly to see 
your pictures, and to be of any use I can in the way of 
suggesting title, quotation, or aught that may be of 
use, and as soon as I come up, I will, if you will allow 
me, call in Greville Place. Lastly, I should like to 
hear how you like the look of your verses, etc., and so 

316 



MRS. JOPLING ROWE 

if you send me a line to the George Hotel, Crawley, 
it will be very welcome. Lastly, again, 
" Believe me, 

" Ever yours sincerely, 

" Shirley Brooks. 
" Mrs. Frank Romer, Jun. 

" P.S. — You will see me as your companion in the 
Magazine. I have done ' The Alchemist,' but I don't 
know that it is readable. I daresay not, for as I said, 
I am an owl." 

Of course, he remembers to send a copy of the 
Magazine : — 

Ditto to Ditto. 
" My dear Mrs. Frank, 

** I send you the G.M. by this or next (to-night's) 
post, as I daresay it may not be sent up from Fleet 
Street. You are in good company — see the article on 
Sir Walter Scott, by my old friend Carruthers, whose 
son married Miss Laidlaw. I am here, Mrs. Lemon 
would not let me go to the hotel, and I shall be here 
until Saturday afternoon." 

Then follows a cheque for two guineas. 

" It is not much, but little iishes are sweet ; why they 
make it payable at Albany Street, Heaven only knows, 
and won't tell." 

If he had enjoyed a book himself he never found it 
too much trouble to hand it on to a friend. 

Ditto to Ditto. 
"My dear Mrs. Frank, 

" Not at all. I like to be reminded of a promise — 
that is, by one to whom I meant to keep it. That is a 
virtuous sentiment ! 

" * The Revolution ' is in three rather large volumes. 

317 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

These I propose to leave in a parcel for you, on Wednes- 
day, at the ' Bedford,' on my way to the dinner. But as 
such a parcel would be heavy for one fair arm, I have 
made up the books separately {numbered^ mind) so 
that you can fetch them away, one by one, as conve- 
nient. I would have saved you this trouble, by sending 
them by the Parcels' delivery, but they knock books 
about abominably, and I know you are, like myself, 
too fond of books to treat them roughly. It is not a 
work to be read in a hurry ; take your time about it, 
and if, which is most unlikely, I want a volume before 
you return them, I will send for it. Yes, read it 
leisurely, for the pictures are too elaborate to be hastily 
dismissed. I am sure you will be delighted. I have 
just glanced through the 3rd volume and it has all 
the old power for me. There are to be 30 volumes of 
the series ! Haven't my folks (thanks to my instruc- 
tions) covered them well ? This is a ' monograph ' 
which I take to mean an essay on one subject only, 
and it will not be if I say more than that 

" I am, ever yours faithfully, 

"S. B." 

The record of 1868 may close with three letters to 
Percival Leigh, chiefl}^ on Punch matters. 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" Bedford Hotel, 

" CovENT Garden, 

" Monday, 22nd. 

" My dear p. L. or Uncle Percy, 

" I got a note from Mark (who is better, and will 
I hope run up), but in it he mentions that in looking 
over P. P. yesterday, he thought it best to ' remove ' 
your notice on the Winchester Mayor, as personal. 
I thought it a well-merited smack in the eye for a 
humbug, but of course M. L. is the House of Lords, 

318 



DR. PUSEY AND "MISS METHODIST" 

so you'll know why it is out. The ' Gas and Soap ' 
merely stand over for want of room, and of course will 
appear in our next. I gave you so much trouble on 
Saturday that I seem to owe you these explanations. 

" Plenty of news now, Warsaw, Austria and Hungary, 
Russia and Sardinia, Irish Americans and Prince, etc., 
etc. 

" My address is the ' Bedford ' till further notice. 

" Ever yours, 

"S. B. 

" My child is better, and to-day they go to Crawley 
for a week." 

In the following letter reference is made to the fact 
that Dr. Pusey had appealed for sympathy to the 
Wesleyan Conference and been rebuffed. The cartoon 
was entitled " Rejected Addresses," and represented 
the Doctor paying court to Miss Methodist. 

'' Dr. Pusey. ' And, my dear young lady, if I could 
induce you and your friends to look kindly upon my 
proposal " 

" Miss Methodist. * But you can't. Sir. I don't want 
to go to church at all ; and if I did, I'm sure I wouldn't 
go with you.* " 

The " Abergele horror " refers to the appalling 
railway accident on the Chester and Holyhead railway, 
in which an express train running into a van containing 
petroleum caused thirty-four deaths. 

Ditto to Ditto. 

" Bedford Hotel, 

" August 24th. 

" My dear Professor, {postmark, 1868.) 

" All is serene. Mark went off on Tuesday, and 
states that he is very happy. If you like to write to 

319 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

him, Mrs. Champion's, Barmouth, is the address. 
You will see that your idea of the subject was that of 
the council, but I don't think that J . T. has got the right 
likeness of Pusey. I am the only person in London, 
and I am very dull, and have a bad cold. Thanks, my 
folks are at S. Brelade's, and quite well, though my 
report might have been very different, for as my wife 
was mounting a char-a-banc, the fools drove on, and 
she fell, and that she did not get her legs broken was 
a miracle. However, in a week of such a horror as 
that of Abergele an ' escape ' is hardly a thing to write 
about. All medical men tell me that the deaths must 
have been instant from suffocation, and painless, and 
it is a comfort to believe it. Kindest regards to your 
sister and brother. 

" Ever yours, 

"S. B. 
" / writ the ' Polite Election.' 
" P. Leigh, Esq." 

Ditto to Ditto. 

" 49 King's Road, Brighton, 

" Sunday. 

" My dear Professor, 

" Thanks for the ' D.' I think your notice of 
M. L. exactly what should be said. The regular critic, 
of course, wanted to show his own cleverness — and 
showed none. The misprints are pleasing, but I see 
them in other articles than yours, and I suppose the 
subscribers like them. Were I you, and cared about 
it, I would write a day or two earlier, and have my 
proofs. Brighton is crammed full of the swell mob, 
and gay in its d — d way. But we shall come up on 
Wednesday, and I hope to see you at dinner on that 

320 



'M5 DECISIVE BOTTLES OF THE WORLD" 

day. They want me to dine at 3, being Sunday, but 
* not for Joseph,' says I, and goes to a restoorang. 

" Ever yours, 

"S. B. 

" I have no antelopes ; excuse this wild sheet. 
" Creasy's Book* reminds me of an idea, 

The ' 15 Decisive Bottles of the World,' 
Celebrated drinks — Alexander — Socrates — 
and so on. Let you and me make a list together some 
night over a 16th." 

* Sir Edwaxd Creasy's "Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World." 



321 

a2— (2297) 



CHAPTER XVI 



1869 — Diary, ct passim — Financial Position — T.etters — Mr. Levy's 
Party — Linley Sambourne— Harriet Martineau's " Biographical 
Sketches " — J. R. Robinson — Ernest Jones, Chartist — Death of 
Keeley — Cartoons — Gout — Mrs. Frank Romer — Royal Academy 
Dinner — Hieroglyphic Letter from du Maurier — Percival Leigh 
— Lord Derby — Alex. Munro — Lord Lytton — Grisi — A Sharp 
Warning — Illness. 




TO i.oiNi.Do V| HE year 1869, as we learn from 
the second of the diaries which 
have come to hand, brought 
with it many new and 
interesting acquaintanceships. 
Amongst the names which flit 
across its pages are those of 
Marie Wilton (now Lady Ban- 
croft) : [" She invites me to 
see her new decorations (at the 
Prince of Wales' s Theatre) . She 
has got rid of the orchestra."] 
[" Joachim, after smoke, played 
Bach's, I suppose wonderfully." ] 
Sainton ; Arthur Sullivan ; 
Joseph Hatton ; Charles 
[" He going to Antwerp 
handsome."] Sala : 
Benedict ; Madame 
liked her much, and 



The Joachims 
something of 
Sterndale Bennett ^ 
Piatti ; Ben Webster ; 
Keene ; the Burnands : 
to-morrow. She looked very 
[" told many good stories."] 
S. Dolby ; the Chappells : [" I 

322 



FRIENDS 

talked to her a great deal."] The Wigans; the Knoxes; 
the Levys ; Sothern ; Kavanagh (the armless and 
legless M.P.) ; W. Russell ; Charles Knight : [" I want 
to be in his kindly thoughts, dear old boy"] ; the 
du Mauriers ; Charles Dickens ; the Twisses ; the 
Princeps ; the Calderons ; the Boucicaults ; Arcedekne 
the Agnews ; Montagu Williams ; Mrs. Lynn Linton 
[" Dear Mrs. Linton, always kind "] ; Wilkie Collins 
the Ansdells ; Sir William Fergusson ; Percival Leigh 
the Silvers ; Lester Wallack ; Home, the Spiritualist 
Tom Taylor ; Henry Morley ; the Cudlips ; Richard 
Burton and his wife ; Fanny Holland ; the German 
Reeds : [** at me again for an entertainment "]]; 
Daniel O' Council and his wife ; the Landseers ; the 
Jerrolds ; Paddy Green ; Sergeant Ballantine ; Arthur 
Sketchley ; Lord Houghton ; Charles Reade ; Arthur 
Helps : [" whom I much like "] ; Marcus Stone 
Hepworth Dixon ; Algernon Borthwick ; Huxley 
["who seemed desirous to know me"]; Planche 
Millais ; Mr. J. C. Parkinson; Mr. John Morley 
["we had a good chat in the smoke room "] ; the 
Macfarrens ; the Bensusans ; Oxenford ; Wigan ; 
Layard : [" just going out as Minister to Spain "] ; the 
Theodore Martins ; Christine Nilsson ; the Faeds ; the 
Rousbys ; Deutsch : ["he has returned from the East 
with some remarkable discovery "] ; and James 
Davison (musical critic to the Times). 

Financially things have gone better than ever during 
1868, and he writes : — 

" I record spending about £1,500 hard cash, but 
therein is not counted anything under £l. And I have 

323 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

divers monies in hand, £50 with M. L., a lot at 198 
Strand, and some at 55 Parhament St. I enter the 
year with much more than I have ever had, D.G. 
Many calls on it, however/' 

Now, for the first time, he insures his life to the tune 
of £4,000, and apparently but just in time, for, from 
an entry in red ink later on in the year, we learn that 
he is roughly reminded that he cannot expect to attain 
to old age. It is a sort of provisional notice to quit, 
in the near future, the life out of which he has got as 
much happiness as most, but from which he is not over 
loth to depart, having learned like a wise man to 
anticipate the time when he must make up his mind to 
take his last journey. 

On January 1st he is " reading the edifying works 
of Thomas Browne," and remarks " he nobly steals 
from Rabelais." 

On January 2nd he is annoyed that Tenniel finds he 
cannot do the cut he has " suggested," and has done a 
" happy new year " one instead. " I think these 
things twaddle, and that P. should be more incisive." 

" Jan. 3rd. 

" Went through accounts and compared them with 
E.'s. She has had £600 last year, perhaps a little more, 
and has managed admirably. I have counted up outlay 
in hard cash — see last page in diary for '68. This shows 
£1,225. Fred Evans called about a par. in new P. 
about Tennyson and Moxon, which he thinks calculated 
to do B. & E. mischief, and asked whether I thought 
it might be removed. As M. L. recognizes the right 
of the firm to make business objections, I thought he 

324 



DISESTABLISHMENT OF IRISH CHURCH 

might go to Stacy about it. Wrote M. L. thereon. . . . 
At 6.30 to dine at Frith's. No one else except Parkin- 
son and Harold Bellew. Yet rather a pleasant evening. 
Looked at Dore's ' Paradise Lost ' — very little that 
is good. Talked most to Sis, who lent me a thing 
called the ' Idealist,' with poetry of her own, which is 
singularly good. . . . We all laughed over the 
Bummer der Breitmann." 

' ' Jan. 4th. 

" In the night my nose bled fluently. I didn't know 
it, but fancied I had a bad cold, nor did I discover it, 
until after I had taken in E.'s tea. But for accidentally 
looking at the bed I should have denied the story — 
which may be worth note, therefore." 

" Jan. 5th. 

" Dined at home, E. went with Amy to hear, for the 

first time, Dickens read ' Nancy,' inter alia, and came 
home by no means impressed." 

"Jan. eth. 

" Smalhsh meeting. I suggested the cut, a protest 
that we disfranchize, I mean destroy, the Irish Church, 
for the sake only of justice, not to please the assassins 
and priests.*" 

" Jan. 1th. 

" Some cold beef, and at 9 to Edward Levy'sf, where 
a great revel was held. The place fitted up as a Music 
Hall, and the daintiest real bar, at which Harriette 

* The new Ministry was pledged to introduce a Bill for the 
Disestablishment and Disendowment of the Protestant Church of 
Ireland. The cartoon represents Gladstone sacrificing the Irish 
Church to satisfy the Roman Priesthood and to pacify the Irish 
murderers. 

•f" Now Lord Burnham. 

325 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Levy, Matilda, and another young lady stood all night, 
dispensing iced cup, much needed, for the weather was 
hot, and the rooms were crowded. Singing and other 
performances till 12, then capital supper in two rooms. 
In addition to the usual food, hot kidneys, etc., as at 
a Hall. Expected to be bored, but wasn't, and knew 
everybody almost. Made acquaintance with Mrs. T. 
Chappell, and young Montagu, the actor, both of whom 
I like. Took Mrs. Boucicault to supper, and showed 
her every attention, for auld lang syne and other 
reasons. Emily had a waltz with Fred Evans. Smoke, 
and I sat talking to Sothern and other men. When 
it was a good deal after two, I had no particular wish 
to come away. Got a cab without difficulty. We 
said good-night, E. and I, at J to 4, a rare hour with me 
now. 

" This bit of spite appeared a few days later. It 
was natural that a beastly ' correspondent ' should 
write it, but I was not pleased to see it copied into the 
Express, which is respectable. The fellow was not 
there — as is seen by what he says about the garden, 
which was not covered in, or used. 

" ' An extraordinary party was given last week by 
a Jewish gentleman who is well known in the metro- 
politan circles. His large garden was covered over, 
and made to represent the place of amusement known 
as the " Alhambra." His wife presided at a drinking- 
bar, made to resemble the original ; and the dancing, 
the tables here and there, and the groups were likewise 
on the Leicester-square model. This is too much even 
for the literary flatterers upon whom wealth has a 
peculiar influence ; and the intense vulgarity of the 
notion excites general contempt.' — Bury Post.'* 

Further details of this amusing entertainment are 
given in the following letter : — 

326 



A NOTABLE ENTERTAINMENT 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 
"Jan. 9ih, 1869. 

" My dear Professor, 

" When Cato entered the theatre — but you know 
all about that. I hope that when you entered the 
ball-room the dancers ceased the Mazurka and 
demanded a recitation from ' Caliban on Setebos.' 

" The following recital may amuse you. Young 
Edward Levy, of the Telegraph, and his beauteous 
wife (formerly Harriet* Webster), ' giv'd a barty,' like 
* Dat Bummer der Breitmann/ on Thursday. Wishing 
to vary the monotony of such things, and having a 
good deal of acquaintance among actors and amateurs, 
they fitted up their rooms (in Woburn Place) like a 
Music Hall, with appointments, big bills on the walls, 
a stage, long tables, etc., and E. Levy ' took the chair ' 
like a presiding landlord. Then, all the songs, etc., 
were burlesques of (I may say satires upon) the Music 
Hall performances, but good in themselves, especially 
Louise Keeley in a sailor's pea-jacket, singing a nautical 
song. Byron with 2 boy-dogs, who, with vast pretence 
by him, did nothing ; and Albert Levy, with a capital 
caricature of the Great Vance. But the gem was the 
daintiest ' bar,' fitted up with- perfect accuracy (to a 
beer engine), but so elegant with coloured bottles, 
flowers, etc., that if you had seen it, you never would 
have gone into Fisk's again. At this presided as 
barmaids, all night, 3 of the prettiest women, Mrs. Levy, 
Matilda, and another, in Watteau dresses,- and they 
served you with iced cup out of silver bowls. Splendid 

♦ Properly " Harriette." 

327 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

supper, in two rooms, in the ordinary way (I think no 
sweets, nor similar abominations), boar's head, game, 
raised pie, etc., but — to keep up the Hall — chops, 
welsh rarebits, and kidneys. I had the latter, and a 
potato, better than any I have ever had, except at 
Evans's. All the folks, about 90, I think, knew one 
another, or mostly, and I never saw so many pretty 
faces in one house. Lindsay Sloper, Benedict, and 
Madame Sherrington's husband (she sang) saw to the 
music. Then smoke for the men, and dancing for the 
women and boys. Du Maurier fell in love seven times, 
and was in the eighth when his wife bore him away. 
I did the same in a milder degree, but concealed it from 
my wife, so she let me stay till 3. Altogether, it was 
an original business, and a grand success, — and I was 
not bored once. There, if your revel was as good, 
' here are in all two worthy voices gained to dissipation.' 
" Kindest regards to all. Lord bless you. Don't 
come up. London is as warm as May, and as dirty 
as one of Dante's hells ; you'll remember which. 

" Ever, 
"S. B." 

Montagu Williams records that Shirley caused much 
amusement at this party by playing the part of the 
dissatisfied spectator, who is always picking holes in 
performers and performance. 

" Jan. 8ih. 

" Up at 9.30 (after the Levy's party), none the worse, 
but not much inclined to work or go out, but did both. 
Had promised Cecil to take him, for the first time, to 
the Tower. He was not very well, but eager to go, 
so we went. Rail to Moorgate Street, cab to near the 
Tower. The usual walk round. I am not sure that 
I had seen the chapel, which has been restored, and the 

328 



"YOUNG LINLEY SAMBOURNE " 

small armoury has been greatly increased. After the 
regalia and the prisons, we walked to Birch's, where 
I gave him refreshments, and to rail, home by ^ p. 4, 
so I had not overdone it for him. But he was still 
unwell, and E. began to think it possible scarlet fever, 
now much about. However, he was better next day. 
This kind of child is always making me anxious, while 
cubs never have anything the matter with them." 

On Jan. 9th, he records : " Young Linley Sambourne, 
artist, called ; he is to do Essence initials." These 
had been done by Sir John Tenniel, and Charles 
Bennett until the latter's death in 1867. Bennett 
had put into them some of his finest work and, until 
Mr. Sambourne came along, had had no worthy 
successor. Later on he alludes to " Sambo," and 
adds, " this is Linley Sambourne, the clever young 
Punch artist, who has been and will be very useful," 
a prophecy that all who understand the superb decora- 
tion of a page know to have been more than amply 
justified. 

On Jan. 11th someone else was prophesying and, as 
events have proved, also prophesying rightly : — 

" A most gratifying letter from Frith about poor 
little Mrs. F. Romer. He has seen her work and says 
she has remarkable powers, enough with industry to 
make her well to do, perhaps famous, and he adds much 
more. I am very glad to have been the means of getting 
her such encouragement — wrote him thereon." 

" Jan. \2th. 

" Tenniel has done my big cut nobly, on a double 
block — ' Gladstone Sacrificing the Irish Church to 
Justice, not to Papists and Assassins.' This cut 
should make a sensation." 

329 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Jan. IStii. 

" E. rowed me for making jokes with Mrs. Sothern, 
as unbecoming ' at my age.' Something in that." 

" Jan. IStJi. 

" To Covent Garden Theatre, and bought, as last 
year, a box for the pantomime. They won't give 
anything now, yet it is churhsh, considering how well 
Punch serves them. M. L. and I were both refused 
at Drury Lane. All managers nearly are vulgar 
tradesmen here — in Paris they are better. But it does 
not matter, once a year." 

" Jan. mil. 

" Poor E. suffering with rheumatism in shoulders. 
Rubbed her with liniment, and so to bed." 

" Jan. I8th (the boys having gone to school). 

" Letter from Sims Reeves, who says, ' How splen- 
didly you are helping me (about the Musical Pitch, now 
fighting), and I thank you from the bottom of my 
heart.'* D. at home. House beastly quiet ; we miss 
the boys, of course, more than they miss us. I hope 
so." 

" Jan. \9th. 

" Thanks from Robertson, dramatist. And dear 
old Sims Reeves, in return for services for which he 
again thanks me, sends me a ring, emeralds and 
brilliants, set clear. I do so many good-natured 
things without even thanks, that these recognitions 
by him (I have had two others) are the more pleasant. 
Wrote him. . . . 

" Quite a day of gifts, for in addition to the ring, 
there came to me from H. Dixon ' Her Majesty's 
Tower,' and from Macmillan ' Miss Martineau's 
Sketches,' and Maclaren's book, and |Emily calling on 

* Vide " A Jarring Note," Punch, Jan. 16th, p. 20. 

330 



HARRIET MARTINEAU 

Mrs. Bensusan, was on parting surprised at having 
a little gold or gilt box slipped into her hand." 

Harriet Martineau's " Biographical Sketches " had 
just been republished, edited by Mr. (afterwards Sir) 
J. R. Robinson, and Shirley, as I learn from the follow- 
ing letter kindly lent me by Mr. George Dunlop, was 
prompt, in his review of the book in the Illustrated 
London News, to make some ingenious emendation. 

(Sir) J. R. Robinson to S. B. 

" ' Daily News ' Office, 
" London, 

"Jan. 25th, 1869. 

" My dear Sir, 

" I am much obliged to you for the correction 
in Miss M.'s work. On the whole, though the suggestion 
you make is ingenious, I will alter the ' d ' to ' h ' 
instead of reading it * dad.' I have had a great deal 
of trouble with the work, as the material was in all 
sorts of printers' errors, etc. It was not easy, moreover, 
to give descriptive marginal notes with pages that are 
so small. I could get no one to take the slightest 
interest in the matter. Indeed, I was thought to be 
in a mistake. One impartial critic says they are 
* worthless,' but I am glad to see from your note that 
you do not agree with him. The work will be out of 
print in a few days and another edition will be got 
ready at once. Macmillan has behaved most fairly 
— for one of his nationality, I should say most 
generously — to Miss M. in the matter. 

" Yours, dear Sir, 

" Very truly, 

" J. R. Robinson. 
" S. Brooks, Esq." 

331 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

On the publication of his review Shirley sent a copy 
to the aged authoress, and received the following reply 
at the hands of her niece : — 

Miss Jane Martineau to S. B. 

" The Knoll, 

" Ambleside. 

"Feb. 2nd, 1869. 

" My dear Sir, 

" It is true, as you inferred, that my aunt is unable 
to bear the fatigue of much writing with her own pen, 
but she cannot let such kindness as you have shown 
slip by without some acknowledgment. I am, there- 
fore, glad to be asked by her to send you her best 
thanks for your letter with its enclosure. She begs 
me to say that she had read your notice in the Illus- 
trated News with pleasure and great gratification, with- 
out knowing who had written it, and now of course 
your letter adds to the interest. My aunt is pleased 
to hear about your two sons. Your mention of 
Mr. Lucas brings back many recollections to my aunt's 
mind. She felt great interest in him, but never heard 
particulars about him latterly ; that he lost his mind 
was all she knew. The bringing out of the 'Sketches' 
has been the means of her having the pleasure of making 
close acquaintance with Mr. Robinson, to whom she 
feels grateful for all he has so kindly done for her. 
My aunt is still weak after her late more serious 
attack of illness. Her kind regards, 

" And believe me, 

" Yours truly, 
" Jane S. Martineau. 
" Shirley Brooks, Esq." 

333 



AN ABOMINABLE SHOW 

" Jan. 21 si. 

" Club, and thence to dine with P r. Only 8 of 

us, which is the right number. Taylor, Fladgate, 
O'Dowd, Vilmy, self, host, and two military parties. 
A perfect dinner, and wine to match. His picture 
gallery has been enriched with some new abominations, 
some concealed behind decorous ones, and revealed 
by a spring. I hate these ; did so when young and 
luxurious. In almost any other man than P. the 
characteristic would be offensive, but he looks such 
a picture himself that somehow one forgets that a man 
of 60 ought not to be showman to a gallery of lechery. 
And he is a very kindly fellow. S., Elmore, and 
Whistler have inspected his collection with much 
satisfaction. One work, of a whipping by women, 
was fine in spite of its brutality, and so was the face of 
a girl holding up a dog on her feet, in bed. Such 
things have no effect on me, perhaps I am cold." 
" Jan. 24th. 

" Took some pains to improve L. Romer's verses — 
dare say she will not be thankful, but I have improved 
them." 

" Jan. 25th. 

" Letter from Robert Buchanan, the poet, also thanks 
for a mention in Punch of his readings. Slept down- 
stairs again, and for the first time in one of two gaily 
painted beds which E. thought it necessary to get from 
Jackson and Graham — cheap, however. Wonder 
whether this bed will be my penultimate one. Bound 
Ben Jonson and other books in some new stuff called 
Chartapellicia. I am rather fond of making my books 
tidy. As Joseph Surface says, ' Books, Sir Peter, are 
the only things I am a coxcomb in.' " 

Amongst Shirley's early friends had been Ernest 
Jones, barrister, Chartist and poet. Shirley was in no 

333 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

sympathy with his advanced views, but this did not 
prevent him from penning the following generous 
tribute to the man in the Illustrated London News : — 

" The death of Mr. Ernest Jones," he wrote, " at 
the moment when his long struggle for what he regarded 
as popular rights was rewarded by his selection as 
candidate for the great city in the north-west, seems 
to me to call for a few words here. I confine them, 
however, to circumstances within my own knowledge. 
I had a warm friendship for Mr. Ernest Jones in the 
days when his chief pursuit was literature, and, though 
his political career sundered him from the friends of 
his youth, it could not destroy in those who had really 
known him a strong interest in his welfare. Let me 
say, for the information of the many who know nothing 
of him save that he had been a Chartist, had been 
imprisoned for the mode in which he proclaimed his 
faith and was to the last an advocate of extreme views, 
as we call them, that in earlier life there was no more 
delightful a companion, no more thorough a gentleman, 
no more accomplished an ornament to society (as the 
old phrase goes) than Ernest Jones. He was full of 
geniality and playful fancy, and those who may collect 
his poetry will be surprised as well as charmed by the 
grace of his lyrics. I may add — it is, alas ! no intrusion 
now upon private topic — that he was singularly happy 
in his domestic relations, and his home was one of 
grace and refinement. He sacrificed himself and his 
social position for the sake of convictions, for which he 
suffered long, and has died early. And he refused a 
competence that was to be the price of his foregoing 
politics. I hold both his course and his convictions 
to have been mistakes ; but I cannot see the tomb close 
over him without bearing my earnest testimony — it 
will have value for those who were acquainted withus 

334 



MRS. STOWE AND LORD BYRON 

in other days — to the affectionate nature, the varied 
accompUshments, and the indisputable sincerity of 
him who now Hes in Ardwick Cemetery, near 
Manchester." 

" Jan. 21th. 

** M. L. in Scotland, so took the chair — a full attend- 
ance, and we hammered out a good cut on the Overend 
and Gurney case, in which, by the way, the two 
Gurneys, and four other eminent City gentlemen were 
to-day ' Committed for trial ' by the Mayor and 
Gabriel. * Queer times,' as J. W. Davison says in a 
note." 

The cut represented a ruined shareholder saying 
to his daughter, " Yes, they are committed for trial; 
but we, my child, to hard labour for life.'' 

"Jan. 3Ut. 

*' At J past 5 we went to d. with Crowdy — short 
notice, to eat canvassbacks. No one else. Long and 
pleasant chat with him, over smoke. His conviction — 
we spoke among a hundred things of Lord Byron — 
is that the cause of separation was B.'s incest with 
Mrs. L. Told me that Murray had a box of letters of 
B.'s, deposited by her, on which he advanced sums 
amounting to £500 or so, and offered on her death, 
she being poor, to give up his claims on the chance of 
the box containing something worth having. But 
the daughter would not hear of it — the letters must not 
be touched, and asked time to satisfy claim ; on which 
he very generously gave up both box and debt. Should 
like to hear the opinion of a distinguished literary 
friend on this story." 

" Curious this," he adds in a note on Nov. 8th, " for 
later in the year Mrs. Stowe, in Macmillan, proclaimed 
the story, and for months there was a fierce row. Now, 
people do not believe the charge." 

335 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Nevertheless, as we know, the sordid controversy has 
again been re-opened with no imaginable advantage 
either to history or to morals. 

" Feb. I si. 

" Found messenger had been from B. & E. about a 
word in a song of T. Taylor's this week, in which he 
had called the Overend and G. folks ' rogues,' and 
this had frightened them. All rubbish — wrote T. T., 
and next day W. B. thereon. Rego has again been 
seen by Barker, who is quite satisfied so long as the 
abscess runs, but desires to be sent for instantly should 
it stop suddenly. Poor child. He said a grave sweet 
thing at night, when his mother was wishing for a long 
life of happiness, * What is that, mamma, compared 
to an eternity of happiness ? ' I fear this is the first 
word of Christian religion that has been spoken in our 
house — yet, we are grateful to God." 

Notwithstanding Shirley's opinion the word "rogues" 
was omitted from " Overend and Gurney (A Promoter's 
Protest)." 

" Feb. 5th. 

" Read that Keeley had died on Wednesday. He 
had long been worn out. What curious passages in 
my life connect themselves with him and his ! Some 
fun, and some profit, too. I might have been one of 
the sons-in-law mentioned to-day, but 'tis an uncommon 
deal better as it is." 

" A newspaper cutting of the day says : — 
" ' During Mr. Keeley's lesseeship of the Lyceum, 
Mr. Shirley Brooks furnished him with several cha- 
racters, in each of which the comedian made a hit. 
The most successful were Bokes, a kind-hearted but 
irascible Jew (* The Creole ') ; Bottles, a doctor's boy, 
given to dangerous experiments in surgery (' Honours 

336 



MR. JUSTICE BLACKBURN AND THE DEVIL 

and Tricks ') ; and Ebenezer Scroop, a lachrymose poet, 
who had made himself extremely miserable by the 
study of his own writings (' New Governess '). In the 
part of Dulcimer (in ' The Guardian Angel '), by the 
same author, Mr. Keeley was very effective ; this, 
however, was at the Haymarket, in a portraiture of an 
enriched and foolish, but not bad-hearted snob, 
affectionately watched over by Mrs. Keeley, as a 
housemaid, in whom he had inspired a passion." 

" Feb. 1th. 

" At 6.30 we had the Yateses, Sala (first time) and 
Mrs. Linton to dinner, and all went off well. Sala 
told many good stories — one of a whist-party, com- 
posed of Justice Blackburn, Kenneth Macaulay, 
dummy, and the Devil, and after the second game the 
last party threw up his cards, declaring that he was 
not used to such language, and must draw the line 
somewhere." 

" Feh. 8th. 

" Reading Miss de la Ramee's * * Idalia,' terrible 
rubbish, yet much of it readable." 

" Feb. lOth. 

" Punch d. Left 8.30, home to dress, and at 10 we 
were on the stage of the Prince of Wales's Theatre, f 
Prettily fitted up. . iWe were early. Dancing. At 12 
curtain drew, and showed the pit, laid out very bril- 
liantly with supper. Took in Mrs. Stirling, and sat 
between her and Mrs. Steele. Plenty of wine, good, 
for I have no headache. Boucicault proposed the 
Bancrofts, B. the company ; Hare, Robertson — that 

* " Ouida." 

f This was, of course, during the brilhant management of the 
Bancrofts at the old Prince of Wales's Theatre, the home of 
Robertson comedy. 

337 

23— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

was all. Yates was voted vulgar for calling out to 
Lawson to get out of a private box, but I really saw 
only a joke, but am told he was vicious, Y., at listening 
to the story of success when he had been d — d. 
He had better, perhaps, have stayed away. Sir B. 
and Lady Lennard, Sir W. Fergusson, Arthur and 
Mrs. Lewis, Mrs. Steele, Mrs. Fitzwilliam, Mrs. C. 
Matthews, Mrs. Burnand, V. Prinsep, Bancrofts, Hare, 
Addison, Miss Herbert (was introduced to her), Walter 
Lacy, Sefton Parry, P. Simpson, Robertson and Miss 
Madge* (engaged, I think, to Kendal), Chippendales, 
Hollingshead, Clarke, Boucicault, Albert Levy, 
Montagu and a lot. Rather ' mixed/ as a body might 
say, but we are too old to be hurt. Cigar in green 
room. Bed by 3. E. said she had been bored — I don't 
think I was." 

"Feb. nth. 

" Not much concerned to work. At J to 4 at 
Grindlay's, where were ready for us Low, Mr. Thomas, 
engineer to the L. C. & Dover, and a carriage. So to 
Low's — bad hills on that road — and dined at 5. Mrs. 
L.'s father came. After smoke came to the drawing- 
room some two-dozen members of a Book Society, and, 
tea over, ' we ' proceeded to discuss the question whether 
the Church of England ought to remain endowed. 
Low opened in the affirmative. The others were mostly 
Dissenters, and talked the usual old high-flown twaddle, 
and petty jeers, which I remember for 30 years. I did 
not mean to speak, but Low urged it so much that I said 
a few words about the value of the Church as a police, 
and the advantage of having in every parish one man 
bound to decency and honour. Likened the Dissenters 
to the servants (Dean Swift), with a common enemy, 

* Miss Madge Robertson (now Mrs. Kendal). 

338 



STORY OF THE DUKE OF SUSSEX 

master and mistress. Very much bored, but sat it 
out — Low got his motion by 7 to 6. E. much fatigued 
and eager to get home, because of Rego, but we could 
not get off till the 11.14 train — wet — home by 12.15. 
I was glad to oblige L. by our going, but should have 
preferred dinner at 7, and no Dissenters." 

" Feb. I8th. 

" Wrote Sala that Napoleon was a failure even in his 
own bloody and brutal profession — kicked out of 
Russia, Spain, France, and transported for hfe." 

" Feb. 22nd. 

" Garrick at 5.30 to meet Sherard Osborne, who took 
me to Willis's Rooms to dine with the Geographical 
Club. An interesting meeting. Sir Andrew Waugh 
in chair. Murchison's wife having died, we drank her 
memory * in solemn silence.' Somebody told me that 
when Sir Roderick was made a baronet, she said she 
wished she could die, that he might marry and have 
a successor. A pretty story, but I see the honour was 
given in 1866, when he was 74. Sat next to Lord 
Houghton, who had some good stories — said he heard 
the Duke of Sussex tell Parry (Arctic) in a hot room 
that the atmosphere was not like what he had left at 
the North, but must rather remind him of the South 
Pole. . . . 

" At 8 to British Institution, where the G. S. meet 
at present, and heard a long paper by Commander 
Davis, who was out with Captain Ross, on Antarctic 
discovery, and the place whence to observe the transit 
of Venus in 1882. Sir James Andersen was there, 
and the paper was amply discussed. ... I did not 
stay for the last admiral. . . . Transit in 1882 ! 
Where shall I be ? Transitted, perhaps — yet I am 

only J3I — 66. As God wiU." 

33d 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Feb. 24th. 

" Heard from and wrote Sala. We throw away a 
deal of copy this way, yet it is pleasant, and one must 
have some amusement. I have little enough. Wrote 
H. N* Walked in, called ' Bedford,' saw L. Romer, 
who is prospering, and has a promise of £20 for a 
picture — I hope she will live to laugh at the pleasure 
with which she told this. On to Alsatia. I urged 
vehemently that the next cut, which will come when 
the country will be full of Gladstone's speech, should 
be on the Church, though we usually wait to let topics 
soak into the public mind. It was agreed to, but we 
had much trouble in hitting on a theme, so I suggested 
Protestantism, freed from chains, rising like an angel, 
or that one in the ' Hermit,' and delighting Ireland. 
Leigh d — d Protestantism, but something like my 
notion was agreed to." 

The resulting cut was entitled, " The End of the 
* Tempest,' " and represented Gladstone (as Prospero,) 
[with Ireland hanging on his arm,] disendowing and 
disestabhshing " Protestantism," with the words, ** Be 
free, and fare thee well." 

In ]\Iarch, 1869, Shirley was down with a bad attack 
of gout, but, though confined to bed, he did not allow 
his work to suffer, having a great objection, in his own 
words, " to throwing other folks out of gear merely 
because I am so." The doctor treated him with morphia 
with the following result : — 

" March 1 4th. 

" In bed nearly all day, chiefly reading Ben Jonson, 
but up to dinner. Frith came, and Fred Evans. One 

* Home News. 

340 



STORY OF A LOST CHEQUE 

of these nights had the oddest dream [morphia] that 
one of the tea-fleet was called the Shout, and that there 
was war between the United States and some other 
power on the way from China. The Shout must go 
out of her way to fight (having canister and gunpowder, 
but I think this facetiousness was when I was waking) 
and got taken. I, who could be in all ships, and all 
over the world at once, goes to the American captain, 
and told him a young lady would break her heart if her 
lover, captain of the Shout ^ did not win. ' Wal,' he 
says, ' I guess I'll let him go, as you say it, and you've 
always been a friend to our nation, but he can't win 
the d — d race now.' Well, I said I thought he could, 
if the American would lend him a fast frigate to tow 
him up into his place, and range him with the others, 
and this the Yankee most good-naturedly did. Aegri 
somnia, but this is a little more coherent than most, 
and certainly has pes and caput .'^ 

" March I8ih. 

" Had my hair cut — always a proof of convalescence, 
except once, of which I shall know nothing ! " 

" March 2lst. (At Crawley with the Lemons.) 

" Slept well, sending myself off with some imaginary 
dialogue with an impossible widow, whose idea was 
given me by a description of an excessively possible 
one whom I met in the flesh on the Saturday. That 
is the way to get ideals." 

" March 3\st. 

" Slept elegantly, but dreamt I had to bury Reginald 
Heber, whose body was sent to me in a package to the 
Era office, and I did it with the utmost decorum, and 
told my father thereof. There's a pretty kettle of mad 
fish for you." 

" April 12th. 
" Odd thing. Crawled upstairs to sign a cheque for 

341 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

E. ;fl2. Brought it down. Saw her take it from 
mantelpiece, in fact cautioned her not to smear it, 
as she was folding it. Erom that moment it vanished. 
I suppose it got among some of her letters, and was laid 
away by mistake. Fred Evans called to-day and 
informed me that Mr. Bradbury (Wilham) died last 
night. So, ' is old Double (he was that) gone at last ? ' 
Well, when he had Punch, I had many civilities from 
him. He had the sense to know my value, and the 
grace to show it." 

Touching the cheque, he records four years later in 
red ink : — 

" I was nearly right. She put it into a novel, * In 
Silk Attire,' where it was found by Reginald, Nov. 13th, 
1873." 

" April I3ih. 

" Duplex* don't show — he has neuralgia — but might 
have sent a line. I go on taking his medicine, and am 
saturated with morphia, which makes me drunk. 
I suppose myself to be sober, but the night visions 
come with a curious double-ness. This won't do — so 
stop the morphia. But do my work, did ' N. in P.'f 
with much ease in bed to-day, and write letters, so I 
suppose the will is dominant. Comes, introduced by 
George Russell, Mr. Marwood Tucker, a new editor of 
the Globe. Wants me. Could not see him, but sent 
him down a civil note — we'll see — but these Tories 
know nothing of newspaper work. E. saw him, and 
he made quite a fuss about a set of ' sketches * he 
has got from somebody — neat and washy, and not of 
the faintest use." 

* The doctor. 

f " Nothing in the Papers," the title of his weekly column in the 
Illustrated London News. 

342 



ENCOURAGEMENT 

Mrs. Romer's first picture in oils had failed to find 
a place on the walls of the Academy. Whilst its 
fate was still in the balance he had written with his 
customary thoughtfulness : — 

S. B. TO Mrs. F. Romer (Mrs. Jopling Rowe). 

" Saturday. 

" My dear Mrs. Frank, 

" Thanks for kind enquiries. I have had rather 
a troublesome ten days of it, but am much better and 
hope to be all right very soon. I have been able to 
do my work regularly, so I suppose there was not a 
great deal really the matter, only the doctors are 
stronger than the fish that swallowed Jonah, and when 
they have got you down, they keep you down. 

" I know not whether you have yet heard the fortune 
of your picture, but if it be the wrong way, you must 
be in no sort discouraged, for I heard yesterday they 
were * slaughtering more mercilessly than usual.' 
Of course it will be a disappointment, but as Clarence 
says — 

' That thee is sent accept in buxomness, 
The wrestling of this world asketh a fall,' 

and you have, as you have been told by more competent 
authority than myself, the future in your own hands. 
But I will not anticipate what may not happen, only 
I wish you to arm yourself against any temporary 
ill-luck by conviction that it can only be temporary. 
" Sir Edwin's great picture of ' Eagles Fighting 
Swans in a Scotch Lake ' is described to me as the most 
splendid thing he has done for years. I saw a good 
many pictures — Leighton's are beautiful, especially 
one exquisite nymph rising from the sea, roses under 

343 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

her feet, to meet the embrace of the Sun-god.* It is 
perfect. 

" Again thanks for thinking of me. I hope we shall 
soon meet and that I shall hear good news. 

" Always yours faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

Later, when Mrs. Romcr had been asked to send the 
picture to an exhibition which had been arranged as a 
protest against Burlington House exclusiveness, she 
wisely asked Shirley's advice. This was his answer : — 

S. B. TO Mrs. F. Romer (Mrs. Jopling Rowe). 

[Whit-Tuesday, 1869.) 

"My dear Mrs. Frank, 

** I should not, were I you, enter the ranks of the 
Rejected, when you are in the regiment of Postponed. 
At all events I would wait another year ; ' the world 
is to him (or her) who knows how to wait.' Of course, 
there is such a thing as waiting too long, but you can 
perfectly well afford a pause. That is my opinion, 
and I fancy it will be that of the best of your friends. 
On Whit-Monday, yesterday in fact, I took the boys 
to the Academy. I feared a crowd, but it was a mild 
one, with ten times as many pretty faces as you see 
on an aristocratic day, and we managed very well. 
I have made up my mind that it is by no means a 
first-rate exhibition. There ! 

" We (Punch) dine at Hampton Court to-morrow, 
which will be pleasant if the weather holds up, but I 
have not much hope. As Benedict has sent us a 
couple of guinea stalls for the Rossini Mass in the 
afternoon, I shall try to hear that first — not that I 
know much about music (or anything else), but it is 
a thing to have done. 

* Helios and Rhodes. 

344 



GENEROSITY 

" But this is by 

'' Mr. Brooks : — 
" ' If you were an invalid, and you went by Sir John 
Falstaff in the street, why ought you to be condoled 
with ? Because you would not have passed a good 
knight.' 

" I send you a photograph — I have no idea who it is, 
but the face is pretty, and you may like to have it. 
It was ' not to be given away,' so I give it to you. 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

" S. B." 

" April nth. 

" Wrote the memorial of Mr. Bradbury for Punch. 
M. L. writes that * W. B. is mightily touched thereby, 
and it may be remembered.' May be ? " 

The following refers to one of his many charities, 
of which he said little : — 

" April 19th. 

" The point is about the deserted boy, — , whom 
Mr. D. can get into a school for two years, if I will 
pay him from £26 to £30. It seems only humane 
to give the poor lad a start in life, so I assented, but 
wished the money to be paid by instalments — if one 
lets these folk know one has a shilling, they will grab 
at elevenpence, and look at the odd penny as if one 
was a churl to keep it." 

" April 2lst. 

" Where will our Courts of Law be built ? Heavy 
debate thereon last night, and Bob Lowe has a plan 
for getting to the Embankment. The lawyers oppose. 
But the clever cuss frightens the House with the 
£4,000,000 which he says the present Carey St. scheme 
will cost. Temple Bar must grin — it is not doomed 

345 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

yet .... Dined Punch — pleasant evening. I sug- 
gested the cut about the Law Courts.* . . . Arch- 
bishop Manning remonstrates against my article in the 
Illustrated.] I will go at him again." 

[Note added in red ink : ] 

" Did, in Punch — so there's half-a-million readers of 
the fray." 

" Apil 27th. 

" Looked into National Gallery, now entirely given 
up to the nation's pictures. They are beautifully 
arranged, and it is odd to see in the ' great room,' 
octagon, and other chambers, in which there used to be 
such a crowd of modern works, the calm old fellows, 
in two rows. Wrote Webster for an Adelphi box for 
E. She says that while under morphia, of which I 
fancy I took more than enough, I said unkind things. 
God knows I never meant, or was conscious of them — 
my principal remembrance is that of extreme content 
with her and all things. I did all my work all through 
the time — and well. It is odd, if I wandered — one 
night I know I was a little mystified, yet I seem to 
remember it all, even now — they exaggerate a little, 
perhaps, and I am usually so sedate that a little 

* The cut represented Father Thames begging Miss " Lex," 
" Come, build by me, and be my love," but, as we know, to no 
purpose. 

f In this article Shirley had commented severely on the alleged 
language of Archbishop Manning to a Fenian deputation. This he 
followed up with an article in Punch entitled " An Illustrated 
Archbishop," in the course of which he wrote : "In old days 
Christian bishops helped Governments to suppress crime. If the 
districts in Ireland, red with assassination, were deprived by the 
Catholic spiritual authorities of rehgious rites until the murderers 
were in gaol, we should hear no more of ' agrarian outrages.' " 

346 



THE FRANK ROMERS 

excitement excited more notice than a nois}^ person's 
would. However, E. knows that I never meant 
anything to pain her — I was a beast if I had." 

" April 30th. 

"At 3 to Burlington House, private view of the 
Exhibition, first time in its new and splendid quarters. 
Not, I think, a first-rate exhibition. Landseer noble. 
The usual mob of acquaintances. We shook hands 
with the B. of Oxford, who was looking ill. Princess 
Mary of Teck was being shown round by Leighton, the 
future President. Shook hands with a deal of talent." 

In May the Frank Romers had established themselves 
in a new house and Shirley wrote : — 

S. B. TO Mrs. F. Romer (Mrs. Jopling Rowe). 

" 23yd May, 1869. 

" My dear Mrs. Frank, 

" Accept my best congratulations on your once 
more having your own Lares and Penates about you. 
Nobody's gods are so pleasant as our own.'Jil trust 
that you may not only have much comfortjin your 
new abode, but that out of it may proceed such work 
as will ere long translate you up to a Studio, if that be 
more dignified than an atelier. Mine I call a Den, 
wherein I ' privily murder the innocent.' I dined at 
the ' Bedford ' last night, but did not expect to see you 
in the circumstances. Allow me (and don't laugh — 
yes, do) to send you by post — it will either follow, or 
accom.pany this — a little book which may not be 
unacceptable to a young housekeeper. I am told 
that it is trustworthy, or as the slip-slop writers say, 
reliable. We have quite a library of such works . . . 
for the most part treated with contempt by the cook 
of the period. 

" Rossini, of course, was a great composer, but, a 

347 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

member of your husband's family once said of somebody 
else, ' Talent is not his forte.' Prefix ' sacred musical* 
and I believe that's the right verdict in the Rossini case. 
But I don't assume a right of judgment in that art. 
The ' Messe ' will be puffed, of course. Again he is 
dead,* and nobody's interests can be hurt by praising 
him. When you are settled, I shall walk over, some 
midday, or when most convenient to you, and con- 
gratulate you in person. I know the region quite well, 
but not Shrewsbury Road ; what is it near, or what 
does it turn out of ? Why don't I look at the map ? 
says you. Because — or rather, I have looked and the 
road is not marked. 

" ' Man is like Don Ferdinando, and cannot do more 
than he can do,' lines I never understood, and believe 
to be mis-quoted. 

" No, I answer d'avance, I am not going to the Derby. 
I have been. Also, I do not care about the Thursday 
headache, for if one does not take too much, one may 
as well stay at home. One may come home sober from 
anywhere without spending three or four guineas, 
besides losing bets and temper. But I have Prophesied 
— see next Punch,] which I will send you. . . . 

" Very faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

Ditto to Ditto. 
" My dear Mrs. Frank, 

" Whether you have time or not, go down to 
Messrs. Agnew, 5 Waterloo Place, and see one of the 
finest Sir Joshuas you ever will see. They have just 
bought it, and it will be there for a few days only. It 
is a large work, a full-length portrait of Miss Johanna 

* He had died in the preceding November. 

t " Punch's Derby Day," May 29th, 1869, p. 217. 

348 



DISRAELI'S POST-PRANDIAL BANTER 

Leigh, who about 1775 married Mr. Lloyd, and after- 
wards one of the Beckfords. She is in a classic costume, 
sandals, etc., inscribing the happy Llo's name on a tree. 
Such a picture ! Say I — say you are a friend of mine, 
which I am glad to believe is the truth. I am sure you 
will see a hundred better reasons than I can why you 
should be glad to have been told of this. 

" In haste, 

" Ever yours, 

" S. B." 

" May Ist. 

" Heard from Sala, who has dedicated a book to me.* 
New dress suit. In which, flowered and white-gloved, 
did I go to the Academy to dinner. Good many years 
since I first set boy's foot within their sacred walls, 
then those of Somerset House. Pleasant to have a 
good opportunity of looking at a few men of the day, 
among whom one wandered. Gladstone, Disraeli, 
Archbishop Tait, Lord Lawrence, Westbury, Chelms- 
ford, Shaftesbury, Russell. Seated near Dr. Ouain, 
head of the surgeons, Webster, artist. Hawkshaw, 
Horsley, Goodall, Ansdell, Durham — Millais, next 
table. Speeches a great bore, except Disraeli, who 
gave just the proper post-prandial banter. To be sure, 
nobody could hear anything else. Excellent dinner, 
well served. Pretty sight — the gas flashing up upon 
all the glitter and show at mention of the Queen. 
I had an elaborate Lewis behind me, ' An Intercepted 
Love-letter,' so I studied this during much of the 
spouting. Sir B. Philhps set me down at the G., 
where sat an hour, and home, where sat till near 1 when 
E. came, having been to Boucicault's play and supper, 

• * " Rome and Venice." 

349 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

and a note had been sent to bid me to the latter, but 
I missed it somehow. 

" Note. — Writ four lines on Landseer's Eagle * 
picture, had them set up for Punch, and gave them to 
Sir E. as I came out." 

" May 2nd. 

" Another picture Sunday, for I had been asked by 
John Pender to come and lunch at 18 Arlington Street, 
and see his pictures. Went. Tom Agnew and Barlow 
there, and some more. Interesting house — sham 
Gothic. H. Walpole was born there — see about this. 
Lantern — handsome rooms. He has a wealth of 
pictures — there are 18 in the dining-room for which 
T. A. said he would gladly give £20,000. Two noble 
Landseers-^one, Fox, Dead Deer, and Eagle — the other, 
Shepherd with Sheep Lost in Snow. Such a John 
Phillip, a splendid naked-legged brown girl, very 
handsome, putting a rose in her hair, as she sits on the 
ground, and looks into a little glass. I covet this. 
A glorious Stanfield — Waves on a great rock, and bird 
flying like spray. A Turner. Elmore's Man drawing 
curtain to show, I suppose, a faithless woman that her 
lover has been killed. Frith — Gleaner girl, landscape 
of it by Creswick.VI' A sweet Etty — half-length woman. 
Millais' picture of Pender's two girls (they lunched) 
with the gold fish ;] and the lady relieving the Royalist 
in the tree — and others, and upstairs Phillip's great 
Spanish Wake and the dead child and mournful mother 
(this is to be engraved), and Holman Hunt, Cox, 
Collins, De la Roche (small and dainty), and many 
more. Really a fine show, and a good house, with a 
back view to B. Palace. A young Wm. Pitt in the hall, 
almost handsome, by Gainsborough." 

* " The Swannery Invaded by Sea-Eagles." 

350 




/^•vgi )\^f\ bl 



I' 



;^ i.^,jU;* H^^^i^ 






KEBL'S LETTEK FROM DU MAURIER TO SHIRLEY BROOKS 
IN THE POSSESSION OI" THE BIOGRAPHER 



A REBUS LETTER FROM DU MAURIER 

' May Ath. 

" Wrote ' N. in P.' [" Nothing in the Papers "] a 
screed against unquahfied critics in art." 

On May the 5th he writes : '* Heard from Kiki * (du 
Maurier), a note of symbols — very clever. This is 
only worth recording because by one of those curious 
chances which occur to those who are on the look out 
for them, the letter itself was washed up to my feet, 
so to speak, in an Oxford Street bookseller's shop, just 
in the nick of time to be here reproduced. I leave it 
to the reader to decipher. Obviously it begins ' My 
dear Brooks, I cannot hand you,' and concludes 
* yours (ewers) Kick-eye,' but what is the translation 
of the third line is more than I can discover." 
" May 1th. 

" A melancholy satisfaction in getting a most kind 
letter from poor Mary Munro.f He lives, and seems 
to have a respite, but the doctor will not hold out hope 
of ' more than a few months.' But he is in his new 
house. Villa de la Tourelle, and lies on a sofa on the 
terrace, enjoys the lovely views, and even models a 
little. If he is to die, as I wrote her to-day, in reply, 
the conditions could hardly be more merciful. She 
asks for Punch and papers. I should have thought such 
things would have poured on them from Inverness. 
But I sent two Punches, and a paper (this next day), 
and I will take care he gets anything I think can amuse 
him. In contrast with the dying sculptor came 
Ewing, a Hving one, full of strength and hope, and 
with the same patronage, Sutherland, etc., that Munro 
had. Asked me to sit to him." 

* Pronounced Kickey. 

t Alexander Munro died at Cannes two years later. He did 
much of the stone-carving on the Houses of Parliament. 

351 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" May m. 

" Frith in ecstasies with something I have writ in 
the Illustrated, about critics and painters.* ' Letters 
of Gold.' And they ask us to eat with them to-morrow. 
We have no engagement. Then Sala sends me a letter 
on the same subject, exactly in the opposite interest, 
declaring that painters ought to be demolished, that 
they are vain beasts, and half of them ought to be 
breaking stones. Replied." 

* * * * 

" Letter from Hills, that Sir E. was much pleased 
with my civility. Don't mind complimenting him, 
for he is a great man, and can do nothing in the world 
for me. 

" May Wth. 

" Such a capital sketch from Kiki of me, as Planta- 
genet, riding down a penny critic (on an ass) who has 
stabbed through the picture of a noted painter — 
allusion to my article in Illustrated.'' 

" May nth. (Whit-Monday.) 

" Rather afraid of holiday crowd, but we took R. 
and C. to the Royal Academy. Many persons, but we 
could see all that we desired. Exceeding well-dressed 
crowd, and some very pretty faces, many more than 
on an aristocratic day. The middle class is begotten 
by the middle class, not by footmen and fiddlers, hence 
its good looks." 

" May 19th. 

"At 2 to S. James's Hall with E., Benedict having 
sent us two guinea seats. Rossini's ' Messe Solennelle.' 
Some of it very fine, and I think more devotional than 
the ' Stabat.* We left just before it was over. . . . 

* Vide entry for May 4th. 

352 



A GOOD STORY OF MEYERBEER 

I walked to Waterloo, and so to Hampton Court — 
the 1st Punch ' out ' this year. Clean and good d. at 
Mitre, as usual." 

Shirley, a thing very unusual with him, arrived too 
late for the soup. He said that as a rule concerts bored 
him, but that the " Messe " had almost persuaded him 
to be enough of a Christian to relish fine church music. 
Thereupon du Maurier told an amusing story of the 
composer. A certain musician had composed a 
" Mass " on Meyerbeer's death : — 

" Cest tres hien, monsieur," said Rossini, " seulement 
c'esf vous qui aurait die mourir, et c'est Meyerbeer qui 
aurait du faire la Messe / "* 

" May I9ih. 

" I suggested the cut, which was at once adopted — 
an American Falstaff.f 

* * * * 

" Cabman took up a friend, without asking my 
leave, so I docked sixpence and told him why. He 
seemed so unconscious of wrong, that I wished I had 
only blown him up — but next day a cabman tried to 
cheat Cecil of sixpence so all is well ' on the average.' " 

" May 20th. 

" E., considering that we must give a dinner and a 
crush, we issued some invitations for the former, and 
made out a list for the latter, whereby we discovered 

* From Mr. Silver's notes. 

f Outrageous claims were being made on England in the Alabama 
business, and thus did Shirley try to solve the matter : " Sirrah," 
says the Prince of Wales, " do I owe you a thousand pounds ? " 
Sir John Falstaff : "A thousand pounds ? Four hundred 
million ! Thy love is worth four hundred million : thou owest me 
thy love." But, as we know, America went for the dollars. 

353 

24— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

that if we asked all our dear friends, and all came, we 
could muster 188— what a deal of love for two people. 
And I would stick on as many more of my own. O lor ! " 

" May 21 St. 

" E. gave Alderman, our clean cook, notice by reason 
that she dresseth herself too well, and the dinner too ill. 
The second, the real and sufhcing cause, howsoever, 
be it said. Again writing that Punch Prophecy for the 
Derby, which sticks by me like the Essence of Parlia- 
ment. P. — C. — is dead, 53. He wronged me in a 
money matter, but it was in his desperate flounders, 
and I have very long since forgiven that, and regretted 
that he would never write to me, ' thick ' as we had 
been, from the hour the lawyers wrote to me. I have 
many pleasant memories of him. Never was a case 
in which a man flung away good cards so very madly, 
and all because of the drink. If there is anything to 
be done for [his wife] I will be in it." 

And he was as good as his word. The dead man 
was a writer of some eminence and Shirley got up a 
memorial to Gladstone. This resulted in enough being 
granted out of the Literary Pensions Fund to pay the 
widow's debts. It was the sort of " revenge " that 
Shirley enjoyed. 
" May 2&h. 

" Burnand suggested the cut — a most admirable one 
— * The Emperor looking at the Urn, " L' Homme qui 
Ritr ' 

" May 30th. 

" Mem. Heard a man telling a lady in the ' Botanical ' 
that rhododendrons required watering every day, 
except Sunday ! This is a fact. I must print it." 
" June 4th. 

" Hobhouse,* Lord Broughton, Byron's friend, is 

* John Cam Hobhouse. 

354 



A MISUNDERSTOOD JOKE 

dead. I have heard that he became a most * arbitrary 
cove/ and that having told a servant to get a horse shod 
(in a rage), the man thought he said ' shot/ and 
preferred to do this to asking his haughty Lord whether 
he had been heard aright." 

" June 5th. 

" Old Pater has taken au serieux a letter Burnand 
sent me, mentioning his leaving the play before it was 
over — a palpable joke. Wrote Pater on Sunday — 
how can he be so absurd ? The longer I live the less 
safe I perceive any joke, unless you stand by the man, 
laugh loud, clap him on the back, and say it's only your 
fun." 

" June 8th. (Reginald and Cecil were now at Isleworth Inter- 
national College.) 

" Cecil, by appointment overnight, made with the 
approbation of Rego and of Britton, C.'s friend, met 
in single combat Steinthal, formerly his fast friend 
also, but who with two others (Burchardt and Stohr, 
all Germans), has been persecuting him of late until 
his life was made miserable. He got well pummelled, 
but is understood to have fought so well with his foe 
that the others thought he was winning. They 
stopped the fight after 5 rounds, 3 minutes, when 
the combatants rushed off to cleanse away the gore. 
I suppose I ought to be in a great rage, and manifest it, 
but I shall manifest it without feeling it. E. behaved 
excellently discreetly, lecturing everybody, from the 
Doctor down to Steinthal, but not demanding vengeance. 
Next day Steinthal wrote for my pardon, saying also 
that Cecil demanded the fight. Adds that he, Stein- 
thal, has been * punished.' The justice whereof, as 
regards the fight, is not clear, but he richly deserved it 
for the persecution. Cecil is brought home, looking 
as one who has fought. Now that he has shown his 

355 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

mettle, I suppose there will be no more trouble, but if 
there is, I shall remove him. Rego, who really acted 
with the best motives, seems to have caught it all round, 
and to have felt strong enough in his motives to be 
dignified, which I like. These boys ! But it is the lot 
of most fathers, I suppose, to be worried some way, 
and, thank God, ours do nothing wrong.'' 

" June \4ih. 

" Dear Aleck Munro* sends me a long and affectionate 
note, in his own hand, in pencil. So thankful for 
papers, especially Public Opinion. Will I come out 
to him in November or December ? He says that he 
is quite happy, though doomed. Asks me for a book, 
with my writing, giving it to him. Says only half of 
my character has yet been shown in my books, only 
the * Horatian ' side, and hopes I shall show the other. 
(Is there another ?) Begs me to go to his studio and 
select a memento of him." 

" June \lth. 

" I went to the G. after dinner, and had a long talk 
with Walter Prideaux, official of the Goldsmiths' Co., 
about my taking up my father's servitude. This I 
spoke of to him years back, but though I got a letter 
from my uncle and part of the evidence required, the 
matter dropped. I may as well take up the freedom, 
though I do not know that it can do me any good. 
I shall be a citizen of no mean city." 

" June mh. 

" I have done the great debate f — the finest I 

* The sculptor who was dying in the south of France. 

f On Gladstone's Bill for Disendowing and Disestablishing the 
Protestant Church in Ireland. Of Bishop Magee's speech on this 
occasion Lord Derby declared, " Its fervid eloquence and impas- 
sioned and brilliant language have never in my memory been 
surpassed, and rarely equalled." 

356 



GRENVILLE MURRAY HORSE-WHIPPED 

recollect — in a serious sort of way for Punch, for, after 
all deductions for humbug reformers and hollow 
defenders, the subject is too big to cut jokes on. 
Magee's speech has made a sensation — if Bright had 
spoken half as well, the Liberal papers would have gone 
mad and sung nunc dimittis." 

" June 23rd. 

" To Whitefriars to dine. Stuck up for a recognition 
of Lord Russell in this Irish matter — the brave Uttle 
old man has worked at it all his hfe, and now sees it 
carried by men who were in the Brocas, or at the Union, 
when he was preaching about it. Told T. T. to write 
a poem in this sense, and I hope he will — I have 
written that way in the Illustrated, and shall send it 
anonymously to the Earl." 

" June 24th. 

" Grenville Murray, for slander in the Queen's 
Messenger, has had an awful good licking from Lord 
Carington, and serve him right. We hoped that 
Punch's example had ended that sort of work, but it 
has revived of late in much beastly vigour, and the 
beast's remedy is the only one." 

Lord Carington horse-whipped Murray in conse- 
quence of an offensive article in a scurrilous publication 
called the Queen's Messenger, of which Murray's son 
was the registered proprietor, but Murray himself the 
chief writer. The article was thought to refer to Lord 
Carington' s father. The case for assault came before 
the Marlborough St. Police Magistrates, Mr. d'Eyncourt 
and Mr. Knox. At its close there was a pitched battle 
between the friends of the rival parties for the posses- 
sion of a box of papers referring to the Queen's 

357 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Messenger. Punch (I think at Shirley's hands) was 
equal to the occasion : — 

"CHAOS WITHOUT KNOX. 

" The Marlborough Street battle let others relate, 
We'll deal with but one or two facts, 
Mr. d'Eyncourt presides, but the suitors, they state 

• Disdain Court by violent acts. 
But what, most of all, we can venture to say. 

Our sense of congruity shocks. 
The parties to this most inglorious fray 
Came to blows in the absence of Knox." 

" June 27th. 

"It * is better to go to the house of mourning than 
the house of feasting ' — which is true, if there is 
another world, as I know there is — else not, I think. 
We did go to the former from the latter — we called 
on poor Annie Munro, 152 Buck. P. Road. Melancholy 
enough — all in perfect order, as after a funeral. Many 
things gone, the rest ticketed with prices. She held 
up, and spoke of all being for the best, but could 
hardly keep her tears down — nor could E., without 
effort. The poor fellow had sent me over, by Annie, 
a little thing that had held his matches — a frog — he 
wished something that had been near him to be near 
me. And two tiny terra cotta vases for Emily. 
And desired us to say whether we should like a couple 
of casts of a small Dante and Shakespeare. I did not 
want anything more than the relics that we had 
received, but she pressed the others, and I could not 
refuse. She repeated expressions of the pleasure he 
gets from my papers — newspapers, I mean. Both 
Mary and she write every day. Came away very sad, 
with recollections that I had seen merry doings there."* 

♦ Alec. Munro died in 1871. 

358 



THE IRISH CHURCH AS VENUS 

" June 29th. 

" To Punch. Dinner to-day at my instance, a 
concession I repaid by suggesting the cut — * Venus 
attired by the Graces.' * Gave M. L. the book in which 
for several months of last year I recorded the sayings 
at the Punch dinners — several looked at it, and were 
hugely delighted. T. Taylor in good talk to-day. 
Told a good story about S. — W. — , who advised him 
on circuit not to be led away by successes gained through 
hterary fame, * On my first coming, every attorney 
of note gave me a brief — no one gave me a second.' 
S. quite unconscious of what it meant. And about his 
being asked to the ' Albany ' to meet his first Lord — 
the peer didn't come, so one EUiott played lord, and 
W.'s subservience awful — even to affecting to be drunk 
when the other affected it. . . . 

" To-day a huge fete at the Crystal Palace, for the 
Viceroy, i.e., the Queen won't entertain her guest, 
so lends him to a showman, to make the best of him, 
and throws in her son and daughter-in-law to help out 
the bill of fare." 

" June 30th. 

"... E. and I dined at home, and amused 
ourselves in the evening by constructing pedigree 
on her side. She said something very grateful and 
affectionate, which, being written in my heart, I set 
not down here." 

" July 1th. 

" Up at 8 — proofs — to White Horse Cellar, whence 
all the Punch party, except T. T. and C. K., and 
Sketchley who came down by rail. Started at 10 on 
the outside of the 4-horse coach, the ' Exquisite,' for 

* Venus (the Irish Church) attired by the (Christian) Graces, 
Lord Westbury, Lord Grey and Lord Cairns, the chief peers to move 
amendments to Mr. Gladstone's BiD. 

359 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Tunbridge Wells. Lovely day, not too much sun, 
and the coach went splendidly, but I saw the driver 
was one of the old sort, and liked to knock against 
or chaff those who did not get out of his way. We 
enjoyed the drive hugely, and were within 4 miles 
of T. Wells, M. L. on box, and behind him Tenniel, 
S. B., Kiki, Silver, when a leader gave a plunge and 
fell down. The wheeler was over him before the driver 
could check the coach, and then he called out, terrified, 
' Passengers all down.' Down we went, and I received 
Fred on the top of my head, but no harm done.* The 
horse was as dead as Julius Caesar. Had he lived to 
kick, there might have been mischief, and had the 
thing happened as we went down one of those hills, 
some of us must have been killed. Thank God. With 
three horses we went ignominiously into the Wells. 
Sussex Hotel, opposite the Pantiles — wash and lunch. 
Wrote Emily, lest she might hear in the Echo or 
some way. (She did not, but had a presentiment and 
was quite prepared, she said, for my letter.) Lounged 
about the Pantiles — bought E. scissors mounted in 
leather — and we dined, excellently, at 5. Four went 
away by train — the others, including myself, stayed — 
slept on ground floor. No. 3, and very soundly. A very 
pleasant * out,' into lovely country." 

" July 21th. 

" Lillie Jerrold d. with us, and we went to the 
St. James's box, to see Schneider in the famous 
' Grande Duchesse.' She is very pretty, allowing for 
the make up, and her acting is finished, her face full 
of expression. The business is as immoral and sug- 
gestive as possible, but only to those who understand. 
I suppose a modest girl would see only a great rude 

* ' It is an idiotic thing to write, but let it be said that I wore this 
crushed hat till 4th March, 1871 ! Mr. Pepys is no dandy.' 

360 



MRS. BEECHER STOWE AND BYRON 

flirt. But to the evil the woman presents nothing 
more modest than an erotic she-cat on a grass-plot, 
with all the httle noises, petulances, and the rest of the 
business-amatory. The rest is mere buffoonery, but 
not unamusing." 

" August 8th. 

" Had the Punch proofs, but there is nothing 
to alter.* Last week dear old M. L. took out a 
very harmless paragraph I left in, about midwifery 
on board ship — but he is right, perhaps, to be 
over-fastidious." 

" August 31 St. 

" Here beginneth a story without an end — Mrs. 
Beecher Stowe publishes in Macmillan, which Grove f 
now edits, an article called the ' Truth about Lord and 
Lady Byron ' (or to that effect), and alleging that Lady 
B. told Mrs. S. that Lord B. had committed incest 
with Mrs. Leigh. I have heard this said before. Now 
I don't believe a d — d word of the charge, but I do 
believe Byron, who was a cad, made people think him 
worse than he was. This article let loose such a storm 
— wishy-washy waves, however, as will not cease this 
side Xmas. I wrote, to help Grove, a paragraph in 
* N. in P.,' but very guarded." 

About the middle of August Shirley joined his wife 
and the two boys in Wales. Just before starting he 
met the proprietor of one of the leading London 
newspapers and asked him whether he had ever been 
at Beaumaris : — 

** No," said the great man, " I have never been in 
Scotland at all ! " 

* Mark Lemon was ill and Shirley was again " acting editor." 
f [Sir] George Grove. 

361 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Hearing that Mrs. Frank Romer was at Barmouth, 
he wrote : — 

S. B. TO Mrs. F. Romer (Mrs. Jopling Rowe). 

" Sunday morning, 

" Church time. 

" My dear Mrs. Frank, 

" Do you think that nobody can come to Wales 
but yourself ? Ha ! I am within 40 miles of you as 
the crow flies, but then I cannot well travel so, not 
having arrived at crowdom yet. We shall be crows — 
see ' Vestiges of Creation,' as explained by Tancred. 
Here we be, with a panorama of the Carnarvonshire 
hills — they call them mountains in Welsh — before us, 
across the Menai Straits. I wanted to be very dull, 
and I believe I shall attain my wish. One can stagnate 
here very successfully. I was rejoiced to hear that 
you had gone on a long visit to Belle Vue, and I hope 
the fresh airs have brought colour to your cheeks, after 
the fag of hard work. The more we all look at the 
portrait of Helen,* the more we admire it. It is now 
hung on the wall opposite the window in the ' Shake- 
speare,' f and in the corner to the left — there is no good 
place in the room, but that I thought the least bad. 

" I came down yesterday, so I have lost no time in 
shouting across to you. London was growing intoler- 
able, but I stayed for Sissie Frith' s * wedding ; we had 
full choral service and were all photographed. You 
will conceive me having to propose ^ The Bridesmaids.' 
I brought in allusion to the group of such in the father's 

* Mrs. Warner's youngest daughter, painted by Mrs. F Romer. 

I The Warners' private room at the " Bedford " was so called from 
the supposed fact that Shakespeare and the wits of his time made 
the Bedford Coffee House their afternoon lounge. 

X Mrs. Panton. 

362 



RELIGIOUS "LARKING" 

picture of the Railway Station ! which, as Mr. Pepys 
saith, * caused a pretty diversion.' I wish the Welsh 
people did not speak Welsh, one is far less at home than 
in France. But then you don't want to be at home, 
don't you see, says you, which is true, only when 
the maiden-in-waiting says * I put gas,' and you say 
' Very well,' meaning that she will put it out, and you 
find it burning in the morning, and that ' I ' meant 
* you,' it makes one regret the confusion of tongues. 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

S. B. TO Ditto. 

" 15 Menai View Terrace, 
" Bangor, 

" 2<dth August, 1869. 

" My dear Mrs. Frank, 

" You would have got my illustrated note from 
Beaumaris. I have come here, as convenient for excur- 
sions, but I do not like the locality as well as the other, 
the magnificent mountains being exchanged for pretty 
woods and white villas, which one can see anywhere. 
Yesterday we went to Carnarvon — the Castle is 
glorious, but the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists were 
holding their ' Socialion,' and the place was crammed 
with he and she clowns in their best clothes, all ' lark- 
ing ' but in a religious spirit. Thank heaven, my 
driver belongs to some other sect, the Congregational- 
ists, I believe, so he hates the others and did his best 
to run over them. I think we scrunched the toes of 
one Calvinist, for we dashed out of the town amid a 
volley of abuse. Being in Welsh, it did not hurt. 

" Say to Mr. Ellis Williams, please, with my kindest 
regards, that I should have been very much pleased 
to come, but I travel with three incumbrances, and our 

363 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

locomotion is * a business.' You will do very well, 
I know. I hope you gave them a French song. Such 
are always applauded doubly : once for their merit, 
and once to show that we are grateful, and under- 
stand. Loudest of all is the applause when we don't 
understand. I shall ask for the encore yn Lliindain. 

" Of course, you have done nothing, on the spot. 
It is thus that the seed is sown, the germination is 
an after matter. I am stagnating like a toad at the 
bottom of a well, but I know I am not wasting my time. 
I am sorry that your holiday is drawing to a close, 
but it is a good thing to have led six weeks of do- 
nothingness. Mrs. S y sends you her kindest 

regards — so do I — mine. 

" Ever yours affectionately, 

" Shirley Brooks. 
'• Mrs. F. Romer." 

Quotation from letter to Mrs. Romer during the 
Wales visit. 

" Apropos of nothing, in one of the old plays, a young 
fellow puts the doctrine of filial obedience in a clear 
light. His father has ordered him not to flirt with a 
certain artful Mrs. Frail. ' I shall. The young 
woman's mighty civil. Tho' he be my feyther, I 
bean't bound 'prentice to 'un ; I shan't obey him.' 
Your Uncle Mark coarsely abuses me for writing 
letters, when the same amount of ink and paper would 
make articles for Punch. There is some show of 
reason in this, but I bean't bound 'prentice to him, 
and then I never could do the thing that I ought. 
Besides, I ought to have a holiday, whether I want it 
or not. Besides, I do. Any news about * Pop ' and 
her marriage ? Wasn't it to be about now ? I miss 
the ' Bedford ' Mart of General Information About 

364 



IN WALES 

Everybody. Remember me kindly there if you like. 
Excuse this wild envelope ; lucky that I have any^ 
the shops are shut to-day. Best regards to your 
husband. 

" Yours very faithfully, 

"S. B." 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" 9 Victoria Terrace, 
" Beaumaris, 

"N. Wales, 

"Aug. 3\st. 

" My dear Professor, 

" Your letter of the 29th could hardly have got 
to me faster had you known my address. I sent for 
my letters yesterday, and yours was in the packet. 
I should have written to you long ago, but was un- 
certain of your whereabouts, and have asked M. L. 
thereabout, but he forgot to say. I am actually 
writing from Bangor, but we move back to Beaumaris 
to-morrow, and the above is an address at which all 
favours will be thankfully received. 

" We have done very well, this ' out.' My folks 
first settled at Beaumaris, until I came, and the boys 
boated, swam, etc. Then, on my arrival, a fortnight 
or so back, we migrated here for the convenience of 
excursions, as everything can be reached from Bangor, 
whereas Beaumaris has no rail convenient. Hence , 
we have done a good deal, Carnarvon Castle, Penman- 
maur (' a very pig mountain, clory of all Wales' ; remem- 
ber the Welshman in the Spectator, who didn't like 
to go to the Lover's Leap, as he was liable to catch 
cold, but wished to know whether he might break 
his neck from Penmanmaur), Llanberis, etc. But our 
crowning feat was Snowdon, up to the top of which we 
4 went, yesterday week. It is nothing to do, that is 

365 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

from the Llanberis side, and on horses (till near the 
top), as we did it, but much over another route, with 
a narrow walk of a mile, and precipices 1,000 feet on 
each hand, path 8 feet ; men have had to be conducted 
bhndfold over it. I don't do these things. The view 
from the top, with the abysses sending up their mists 
of sacrifice to the sun, who shone nobly at the right 
moment, the gloriousest sight I ever saw. The work 
took just live hours, and to the hotel, and I am glad 
I did it. We have been very well, eating and drinking 
(beer chiefly ; it is good here), and I have set up a 
pipe, which I think answers, until last night, when the 
boys took it into their heads to be awfully sick, and 
we had had mushrooms for dinner, so of course my 
wife began to think of all toadstools. But I believed 
it was only the wild and irregular living : tarts, beer, 
swimming, hot sun, more beer, honey, and other 
delicacies, and to-day all is right. To-morrow, as I 
say, we go back to B. M. and to the splendid panorama 
of the Carnarvonshire mountains. 

" I have done nothing for Punch since I left. I 
wanted a holiday. I have just written elsewhere what 
was necessary, and that old friend, M. L. writes to ask 
for ' over set ' of that. I believe an Editor has no more 
bowels than the dragon Daniel stuck the fireballs into : 
vide Apocrypha. He won't get much, I can tell him, 
he ought to make the other horses work. One scarcely 
cares to look at a paper, except just the telegrams. 
I have not seen the Times for a fortnight, but a Liver- 
pool paper comes early, and tells me all I want to know. 

" My love to your nieces. • Were I they, Southampton 
should never agree with me, while I had an affable uncle 
in London, whom it is a charity to stir up. Kind 
regards also to your brother and sister. You would 
like this place, or Beaumaris, quite quiet, do as you 
like, no swells, no rabble, good beer, and fine scenery 

366 



"NONE OF YOUR SHEENIES " 

without the trouble of doing more than looking up at 
it. Bangor is a clean, well-drained little capital, with 
a beastly ugly cathedral, not in the least suggestive of 
religion of any kind." 

" Sept. \2th. 

" Batches of letters, including the invitation from 
the Viceroy to go to the opening of the Suez Canal. 
Would I could, but the time and the sacrifice would 
make it absurd to think of it. Young Ravens must be 
fed, as M. L. always saith." 

" Sept. I3th. 

" To-day performed the solemn ceremony of investing 
Reginald with my watch. He wanted one, and this 
has served me well for many years, and goes excellently 
— it will do for his early experiences. Only I shall 
have to buy another. He was so delighted, and not 
ashamed to show that he was." 

" Sept. 17th. 

" Wrote a long thing ior Punch about the Wallace* 
monument, just opened, with a wild muddle of history. 
I laughed myself, don't know if others will." 

" Sept. 21st. 

" Took a pill, and dreamed of the loveliest face I ever 
saw — perfectly oval and regular, and her hair in a 
glossy mass, hiding face till I put it aside." 

" Sept. 30th. 

" Read to-day that good, old, odd Mrs. Bensusan 
was dead. A kind Jewess, and very clever. She was 
very fond of E., gave her a trinket one day because 
they might never meet again, but she was here after 
that. She embroidered me a waistcoat. Proud Jews, 
of a Spanish race — none of your Sheenies." 

* The article entitled " Wallace Wight " is a delightful melange of 
history ancient and modern. 

367 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 
S. B. TO Mrs. F. Romer (Mrs. Jopling Rowe). 

"Sept. 20th, 1869. 

" Now, my dear Mrs. Frank, didn't we swear an 
Eternal Friendship ? Then, such being the case, why 
do you say — without thinking it for a moment — that 
such ideas are possible as those you hint at ? The fact is 
I have only just brought myself into a condition of 
comparative civilisation after a long month among the 
Welsh hills, and I had intended, and do intend, to walk 
over and see your studio and its contents, and so 
complete the civilising process. I won't make an 
appointment, because I know you are always at work, 
and I shall be sure to find you. I hear that your Welsh 
trip has done you all sorts of good, and that you are 
greatly refreshed thereby — the word ' stouter ' was 
used, but I could not put my pen to that. Certainly 
Wales is a place to see, but not to live in. After I had 
done the sight business, I went back to Beaumaris, 
and was utterly idle, except that I did all my news- 
paper work, with a large addition as usual. At most 
hours I sat by the sea, * mooning ' at the mountains 
opposite. But one good day I had, and I do wish you 
could have seen the object of the excursion, the Falls 
of the Swallow, near Capel Curig. They are things, 
or a thing, to look at and remember. For the rest, 
I take it that you have seen as good scenery as I have, 
or better, for I read that near Barmouth there are 
* unsurpassed ' districts. But then I don't know 
whether you care about scenery, and I have no doubt all 
your companions prefer a well-looking young man, or 
a novel, or a song to all the mountain effects in the 
world — and quite right too. I came on a young lady 
in the noble pass of Llanberis — her friends had walked 
on to see views, and she had got into a shady corner, 
and had her head down in a book, which I manoeuvred 

368 



A GOOD KEENE CUT 

to see ; it was the ' Morals of May Fair ' — a novel. 
However, we'll talk about this. I have not at all 
settled into London, and I would have gone away 
again, but all next week your uncle Falstaff wants me 
to edit for him — after that, the weather will break up, 
and then London is the best place in the world. Are 
you being taken to the theatres — not that there is 
anything worth seeing, I believe ? I am actually 
going to Forest Hill, presently, to dine with a friend, 
that we may go like dear good children, and see the 
fireworks at the Crystal Palace — if it don't rain. Not 
to take children, mark you, dear Madam. There is no 
excuse at all, except utter frivolity, and the man who 
is going to drive me over is twice as big as I am. 

" I have an invitation from Nubar Pasha, writing 
for the Viceroy of Egypt, to go to the opening of the 
Suez Canal : he writes in French, and is polite enough 
to call me an * esprit eclaire' Such a stupid note 
as this is a proof that Nubar don't know me. 

'* Always yours faithfully, 

"S. B." 

S. B. TO Ditto. 

"Sept. 21th, 1869. 

" There is a cut this week, about an artist, that will 
I think, make you laugh.* I will send it. We are 
having our Punch dinner again at the ' Bedford ' to- 
morrow (Tuesday) ; perhaps you may look in. I had 
the opportunity of showing your picture f to my wife, 
who is enchanted with it, and wishes she had one by 

* A beautiful drawing by Charles Keene of a father and son 
looking over the shoulder of an artist at his easel on the sea-shore : 

" Papa. ' There, Henry ! If you could do like that, I'd have 
you taught drawing, my boy ! ' " 

t That of Miss Helen Warner. 

369 

25— (2307) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

the same hand, of the boys. Some day, perhaps, 
you may hke to indulge this vanity. I have a reason- 
able memory, but what do you think of this in proof ? 
I am going to be made a ' Goldsmith,' and I want the 
certificate of my late parents' marriage. So I marched 
off to-day to get it at St. Andrew's, Holborn. Having 
searched and searched in vain, and having begun to 
wonder whether I was going to be the hero of a sensa- 
tion novel, and turn out a nobleman's ' chyild,' I 
suddenly astounded the clerk by banging the book 
together — * I beg your pardon, I meant St. Mary, 
Islington.' He stared so that I let him keep 2d. 
change out of 2s. 6d. for himself, and then I went into 
St. Paul's, as a secluded place, to have a good laugh 
at myself. 

" Always yours faithfully, 

"S. B. 
" Mrs. F. Romer." 

" Oct. 6th. 

" To-day did what I might as well have done years 
ago, namely, took up my Freedom at the Goldsmiths' 
Hall — also at Guildhall. Cost me in all £2 8s. Wrote 
Reginald that I had done this." 

"Oct. 13th. 

" The Morning Star died to-day. I have read it 
generally from the beginning. Wrote its epitaph in 
' N. in P.' to-day — as fairly as I could." 

" Oct. \9th. 

" Long and kind letter from Mrs. Andrew Ramsay, 
who is delighted with what I have done for the Welsh. 
N.B. — I learn from Mr. E. Freeman's capital little 
book, just out, called ' Old English History for 
Children,' and which tells much that few grown-up 

370 



PRAISE FROM LORD LYTTON 

children know, that * Welsh ' only means folks who 
talk a language that could not be understood by the 
incomers from Angeln." 

" Oct. 20th. 

" A Scotch thing called the Thistle, frantic rage at 
my ' Wallace Wight ' in Punch, but only boyish abuse." 

" Oct. 23rd. 

" Lord Derby died this morning, and Mark Lemon 
asked me to do something for Punch. Rather a 
perfunctory business, though I greatly admired the 
man. So built a sonnet, not worse nor better than 
might be expected in a thing asked for and done in the 
hour.* Waited for proof, and then to Bedford. 

"LORD DERBY. 

" Withdrawing slow from those he loved so well, 
Autumn's pale morning saw him pass away : 
Leave them beside their sacred dead to pray, 
Unmarked of strangers. Calmer memories tell 
Hov/ nobly Stanley lived. No braver name 
Glows in the golden roll of all his sires, 
Or all their peers. His was the heart that fires 
The eloquent tongue, and his the eye whose aim 
Alone half quelled his foe. He struck for Power 
(And power in England is a hero's prize). 
Yet he could throw it from him. Those whose eyes 
See not for tears, remember in this hour 
That he was oft from Homer's page beguiled 
To frame some ' wonder for a happy child.' " 

" Oct. 25th. 
" Our elegant parlour-maid, Hawes, uses my desk 

* Elsewhere he writes : "It was done at Whitefriars on a Sunday 
afternoon, and I swear somebody came in between every line." 
Perfunctory or not, it drew from Lord Lytton a letter saying that it 
was " full of feehng, truth and rhythmical music," as well as an 
invitation to dinner, of which we find record a week later. 

371 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

for her correspondence, and is very welcome, but she 
uses my pad, and leaves her traces — found lines with 
a mystery — of iniquity, I suppose — cut them out and 
left them for her as a hint— they were taken. Whether 
it were or not — this nonsense reminded me of an idea 
which I may work out." 

" Oct. 30ih. 

" At J to 8 to dine with Lord Lytton,* 12 Grosvenor 
Square. He is very well preserved, b. 1805, never- 
theless looks as one who has lived. The old high- 
courtesy manner, but he laughs out. Nothing could 
be pleasanter. The dinner, I may suppose, was only 
that he might see what I am like— or it were more 
gracious to write that I might observe him at my ease, 
for there were only the clergyman. Rev. W. Cox, of 
Bishopsgate, whom I have known for years (he is a 
violent mason), a nephew of Lord L.'s, and a young 
man, possibly a secretary, who never spoke. Quiet d., 
not at all remarkable. Plenty of talk — he talked well, 
but as one who had said the same things before. But 
there were two or three points. Said Derby was a 
great nobleman, but not a great gentleman — cynical — 
and instanced his saying loud to Mrs. Gladstone when 
coming out of the Chapel Royal, ' You didn't succeed 
in that Ionian business.' * So unkind,' she said to 
Lord L., * when we had done our very best.' The man, 
D(erby), was the one who of everybody L. L. had 
known best deserved to be called ' clever.' Good 
critic, and his scholarship elegant, but of the Eton-boy 
type. L. L., in speaking of the Byron scandal, said he 
knew Mrs. Leigh, and believed in her innocence. 
Thought that nobody of the new generation read the 
writings of the old. Thought I did not look more than 

* His first and last meeting with Lord Lytton, who died three 
years later. 

372 



THE "SUCCOUR DODGE" 

40 — but I do. Spoke well about Shakespeare's want of 
art, without which he could do, having ruined imitators, 
who could not. Some fun about no end of big men 
who had come from Norfolk — I mean celebrities — L. 
asked my county — I said London. Says his work 
dwells in his mind a long time before he writes, but that 
he writes very fast — and smokes a great deal — pipes. 
We had a cigar after d. There — I left room to note 
anything of a meeting I am glad to have had, but 
though I saw a good deal of him, there is not much to set 
down. It is interesting to have met the man whose 
writings I have been reading for 30 years, and who 
had something to do with giving me ideas as to form 
in fiction. Left with Cox, as soon as my faithful 
Target * was announced, and L. L. was quite cordial 
and so on. E. much pleased that I had been." 

" Oct. 3\st. 

" Reading Petherick's Nilef book, just out — a very 
uncomfortable story — he gets through hideous bother 
to reach Speke and Grant, and they all but cut him, 
and Speke refuses to recognize the ' succour dodge.' 
Grant, in his book, says that P. went about his ivory 
trade instead of pushing on, which P. furiously denies." 
* * * * 

" Reading Catullus — and Disraeli's ' Tancred ' — 
what good things, mots, there are in this." 

S. B. TO Mrs. Frank Romer (Mrs. Jopling Rowe). 

''Sunday, Oct. 17th, 1869. 

" I want some inspiration awfully. I have under- 
taken to write something for the Illustrated for Xmas — - 
in fact, two somethings. One will be easy, as I and the 

• * The cab-driver, whom he employed for years. 
t John and Mrs. Petherick's " Travels in Central Africa." 

373 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

artist devised the picture together. But the other 
relates to the coloured picture, which will be pretty 
(keep the subject to yourself for business reasons), and 
represents a young lady tying up her garter. She is 
about four, I take it. I must take council, or rather 
counsel, how to treat this important work. Having 
never worn the article, I am at a loss for the emotions 
connected therewith, but there was a Miss Sarah Carter 
that may help me. Brighton has been very pleasant, 
but crammed, and fearfully dear. Only yesterday 
came the most violent rain-storm I ever saw. Just as 
it was over in came Helen (your subject) and Miss 
Chastelaine that was, and her husband, and took the 
rooms that we were vacating, 75 King's Road. I came 
up, dined with Uncle Mark, went home and dressed, 
and then to the St. James's to see * She Stoops to 
Conquer,' worse acted than I ever saw it done. Theatre 
odious and odorous with new paint. A really pretty 
drop scene which I should like you to see, and the piece 
exceedingly well mounted — if you would like to be 
taken some night I will obtain places for you. The 
Tony Lumpkin very good indeed. The new Americans 
worse than bad. No, madam, I have not become a 
goldsmith that I might eat City feasts, though they are 
good things, but that I may — on second thoughts, 
I shall keep that in the deep recesses of my heart, until 
I see whether it comes to anything. They made me 
a ' citizen ' in a room hung with fine old copies of 
Hogarth's * Apprentices,' kept there to warn and 
encourage the young, and they gave me a book of 
' Rules for Conduct in Life,' which are excellent, and 
would perfectly unfit me for any Life I am likely to be 
able to lead. So I have given them to a rich but honest 
friend. 

" We have come up — the carpets are down — and 
we have settled for the winter. I hope you will find 

374 



THE QUEEN THREATENED 

your way over, though it is not for one artist to 
suggest to another to strike work — but I do hope it 
nevertheless. 

" Always yours faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks. 
" Mrs. F. Romer, Jun." 

" Nov. 3rd. 

" B. & E. have been moving for an injunction to stop 
a rubbishy thing called Punch and Judy, but V.-C. 
Malins would not give in. He, however, complimented 
Punch hugely. I am sorry they moved in the matter." 

" Nov. 5th. 

" Blackfriars new bridge is to be opened to-morrow. 
Wrote for Punch a scene, with Dr. Johnson in it — he 
fought Gwyn'splan for the first bridge — against Mylne's. 
N.B. — I went with M. L. to see the first stone of this 
one, Joseph Cubitt's, laid. Vile wet day — the Q. has 
come to Windsor, but if to-morrow's like this, I doubt 
her going. A brutal placard has been put out, and 
copied by the Globe : 

'' ' TO ALL FENIANS. 

'^ ' Vive la Repuhlique ! 

"' ' The Queen will visit the City in state on Saturday, 
and on that day she will be shot. She seldom gives 
a chance. The opportunity won't be lost ! 
" ' God Save Ireland ! ' 

I hope the beast who wrote it will be bitten by a mad 
dog." 

" Nov. 8th. 

"At 6 d. with Sherard Osborne,* at the opening 
meeting of the Geographers. Sat between him and old 

* At this time managing director of the Telegraph Construction Co. 

375 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Sir Thomas Freemantle, b. 1798, an ancient Conserva- 
tive official. He was very pleasant. Hates Disraeli 
for his conduct to Peel. All because he was refused the 
office he wanted, ' and,' said Sir T. naively, ' he was 
not then by any means popular, or a power, and it was 
not to be expected Peel would disappoint the son of a 
big man, or of a staunch supporter, for D.'s sake.' 
There spoke Old England's genius. D[israeli] very 
cold to the young men of his party — never asks them 
to dinner. On S. O.'s left was the Duke of Wellington, 
a comic copy of his father. Rather deaf. Has odd 
amatory tastes. I determined, as matter of curiosity, 
to speak to him, and I sat by him at the meeting, and 
told him some things he could not hear from the 
speakers. Had a handshake from the son of the great 
duke — rather a diluted glory. Introduced to Sir 
Bartle Frere, whose speech and manner give no idea of 
his high talent. Meeting (Mrs. Burton there, and angry 
that enough was not said about Richard), very hot, 
and Livingstone letter, 1868, rather dull except that 
it had a ' querulous ' reference to liberties that had been 
taken with his Geography, but it was not clear what 
he meant, and the discussion was awkward. Osborne 
was sure L. would meet Baker. Sir Roderick* (very 
Pecksniffian, I think ; perhaps wrong. I know not. 
It may have been old world habit,) was sure he would 
not. Home early." 

" Nov. lOth. 

" Punch d. Much fun with dear old Ponny as usual. 
He said that having been consulted by M. L. at the 
time of my engagement, he had opposed it, because 
I was only a magazine writer, and had not the art of 
making the pointed paragraphs required in Punch, 
but he gravely allowed that he had been wrong. I said 

* Murchison. 

376 




MARK li-:mon and shiklkv urooks 

Portion of a cut ivhich appeared in " Punch's " 

rival, " Fun," {Xov. 1H(>'.)). Shirley pasted 

this ill his diary and wrote " Highly 

civil ti'ritinf: about its " 



HANDSOME ISABEL BURTON 

that when verses on my death had to appear in Punch 
Tom T. should not do them, and I desired that Kiki 
should. Very likely he will." 

SfC 3(C J|C *^ 

" When we had settled our cut, against Ayrton, 
who has been making himself an ass by explaining 
that his duty as Chief Commissioner of Works was only 
to check expenditure,* we took the Suez subject which 
I had urged on M. L., and T. T. suggested a very good 
thing — view from top of Pyramid." 

" Nov. I3th. 

" A letter from Mrs. Burton in the Times. Wrote, 
chiefly to please that handsome Isabel, a Punch 
paragraph thereon. f" 

:(: :(e # 41 

" Saw T. Taylor's and Dubourg's play, ' New Men 
and Old Acres.' Too much talk and too little action, 
and ' situations ' mixed, but a very pleasant, evenly- 
written piece, with an agreeable story, and Madge 
Robertson (Mrs. Kendal) charming — the Robertson 
manner, and talk, hath been transferred to the Hay- 
market. Tom, et ux, in next box, but we did not know 
it (E. thought it was so, however), and we congratulated 
them, coming away. Glad I went." 

" Nov. Uth. 

" Set my books in order, and read and burned a good 
many of my letters to my father. Without vaunt I 

* Following [Sir] Henry Layard in that office, Ayrton's appoint- 
ment was anything but popular. The cartoon was entitled " Our 
New (B)aedile," and he was made to say, " I don't know nothink 
about hart, and painters, an' sculpchers, an' harchitex, an' market 
gardeners, an' such like. My dooty's to take care of the money." 
He was as much out of sympathy with expending pubUc funds on 
elevating the public taste as his predecessor had been the reverse. 

I Vide " A Card from the Isle of Africa," Punch, Nov. 20th. 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

may set down that I was a very faithful correspondent, 
and that I find no evidence of having ever been 
betrayed, under the repeated provocations, into any 
departure from the gentleness due to him." 

" Nov. 15//;. 

" Letter from another unexpected quarter. Emma 

E , of the Lovely Eyes, sends me a MS. But it 

won't do, poor child." 

" Nov. nth. 

" Wrote Emma E a kind and sincere letter, 

which ought not to annoy her. Those eyes are too 
pretty to be dimmed." 

From which we see that, like Thackeray, he, when 
acting editor, suffered from " thorns in the cushion." 

" Nov. 20th. 

" Sent poor old R £L He says he never cared 

much for life, and now is quite ready to die, but doesn't 
wish to be starved. This is reasonable, and though 
I ought not to give away money, I think I may be 
pardoned this time." 

" Nov. 22nd. 

" Beastly day, but we went at night to see a new 
thing, by Gilbert, at German Reed's. It's called 
* Ages Ago.' Pictures come out and talk. The best 
thing of the opera sort he has had, and Clay's music 
good. Some smart hits at the R. Academy. Author 
called." 

" Nov. 23rd. 

" Bought a translation of Livy, and a very good 
2. V. Churchill, the other day, for 4s. They came to-day 
and I instantly found a quotation for use. Books 
easily pay their cost. . . . 

" We d. first time at Tom Wood's, 2 Gordon Square. 
Such a pretty dining-room, mediaeval. That very nice 

378 



"CAN NOTHING BE DONE?" 

Newcastle-on-Tyne girl, whom I met at Coleman's 
with them, Miss L. H. We are great allies, considering 
we have met twice only, but she is one of those girls 
whom one likes at once. After d. she and I did 
nonsense, meeting in the middle of the room, and trying 
to say ' The Pope is dead,' ' I am very sorry,' without 
laughing, but we couldn't. She asked for my photo- 
graph, which I sent her next day. If she writes as 
pleasantly as she talks and smiles I should like to hear 
from her." 

" Nov. 25th. 

" Fenian scoundrels in Tipperary have elected 
O'Donovan Rossa, a convict in gaol. O, dear Oliver 
Cromwell." 
" Nov. 21th. 

" Mrs. H. told E. of an old lady who considers 
child-having the great duty and happiness of life, and 
who, hearing that Mrs. Wolfen had been married four 
years, and had had no child, said, with great anxiety, 
' Dear me, can nothing be done ? * " 
" Dec. 3rd. 

" Wrote as usual. At end of work tried to do some 
verse about Grisi, but the thing would not shape itself 
— jotted some ideas, if they can be called so — they were 
but expressions — and next morning they fell into place 
very easily, the truth being, I suppose, that to-day 
I had been at prose all day, and also that I was tired." 

'"GIULIA GRISI.* 
" ' Nay, no elegies nor dirges ! 
Let thy name recall the surges. 
Waves of song, whose magic play 
Swept our very souls away : 
And the memories of the days 
When to name thee was to praise ; 

* Shirley had been introduced to her at Whitby in 1864. 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Visions of a queenly grace, 
Glo wings of a radiant face, 
Perfect brow — we deemed it proud 
When it wore the thunder-cloud ; 
Yet a brow might softly rest 
On a gladdened lover's breast. 
Were thy song a Passion-gush, 
Were it Hatred's torrent-rush. 
Were it burst of quivering Woe, 
Or a Sorrow soft and low. 
Were it Mischief's harmless wiles, 
Or wild Mirth and sparkling smiles. 
Art's High Priestess ! at her shrine 
Ne'er was truer guard than thine. 
Were it Love or were it Hate, 
It was thine, and it was great. 
Glorious Woman — like to thee 
We have seen not, nor shall see. 
Lost the Love, the Hate, the Mirth — 
* * * 

Light upon thee lie the earth ! ' " 

" Dec. 5th. 

" Read the MS. E. L. has sent me. It won't do, she 
can't write, yet, at all events, but it has a vitality, 
because it is done with the object of sketching a 
villain whom she hates with all her might. She sums 
him up as ' vengeful, impure, and remorseless, a repul- 
sive compound of unscrupulousness, selfishness, petty 
treachery, wily deceit, and unfathomable dishonour.* 
And one knows what it all means. Wrote her a long 
letter — for she is a pretty woman — told her very 
candidly the faults of the thing, but candied it, also 
a little — one ought, if one gives a woman the truth at 
all, to make it vente sucree, poor dear." 

" Dec. &h. 

" Wrote M. L., who has written wisely and well (in 

380 



CHRISTINE NILSSON 

London Society) about Xmas. I know he was think- 
ing of me, who have often in fun scoffed at Xmas 
geniahties as shams, so I desired to give him the httle 
triumph of knowing that I had seen it — a good old 
fellow. If he can be thankful at the season, others 
should." 

" Dec. lOth. 

" Woke with a beast of a pain in my wrist, right 
wrist, too. Lucky my chief work is done. Somehow 
managed to write H. N. finish, staccato fashion. But 
when I think of poor Adelaide, who was found washing 
stairs with her legs swollen into elephantine size, I am 
ashamed of caring about a wrist-grip. But I do care — 
hating all disquahfying pain. Next, scratched away 
Era, and got it done very well. Pleasant letters from 
Theod. Martin, Carruthers, and Russell, of the 
Liverpool Daily Post, who thanks me for something 
in Punch against Lord Sandon (who emitted some 
impertinence about journahsts), and says it is in the 
spirit which has made me * the favourite champion 
of the profession.' Am I ? I didn't know." 

" Dec. 19th. 

" Walked to Jarrett's, was ordered by Miss J. at 6 
sharp, but only a few had come, and we did not dine 
till past 7. A much pleasanter evening than I had 
expected, for Christine Nilsson came, and I took her 
into d. and sat between her and Louise J arret t. She 
is handsome, perfectly unaffected (was so to-day at all 
events), spoke of her peasant habits, and took off 
her ring to give me a clutch, to show how strong she 
was, from cutting wood for fires as a girl. A hard 
expression, too, when not talking or smiling. Light 
eyes, fair hair, tall, and I should think well made. 
We got on capitally. Caused myself to be made 
known as Punch, of which she professes admiration, 

381 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

and asked me to send her the Ahnanac. ' To all she 
smiles extends ' — quite awake, I take it. Such a funny 
dinner — long waits." 

Shortly before this date Mrs. Frank Romer had 
written telling him that her little boy was down with 
scarlet fever. Notwithstanding that he was lamed in 
his writing hand with gout, he wrote her the following 
long letter of sympathy : — 

S. B. TO Mrs. F. Romer (Mrs. Jopling Rowe). 

" nth December, 1869. 

" My dear Mrs. Frank, 

" Your note has made us very sad. We can only 
assure you both, and it is needless, of our heartiest 
sympathy. It makes me ashamed of feeling petulant 
over a mere gout fit. My wife says, with her best love, 
that you are to take the greatest care of yourself^ to 
live well, and keep up your stamina, and to get a whiff 
of fresh air whenever you can, if it is only five minutes 
at a time. We have had so much illness of the severest 
kind with our boys, both of whom have more than once 
been in extreme peril, that we can enter into all your 
feelings. But the great thing is to keep up your own 
spirits, and believe that all is going well — and it will. 
Poor little Geoffrey — he looked the last sort of child 
that ought to be afflicted. I hope you will soon be able 
to give a good account of him, and that his brother 
will escape the fever. It is most hard to be shut up in 
quarantine : the du Mauriers were for the same cause, 
for six weeks in the spring, and I know another family 
tabooed in the same manner. But that is a small thing 
compared to the anxiety for one's child. Again I say, 
believe that we deeply sympathise with you. It is 

382 



"THE BEST THING FROM AMERICA" 

baffling to feel that that is all one can do. Except 
that I can send you some books^ to help your evenings. 
I will look through my shelves, and send you something 
by the Parcels Delivery. * On account ' I forward a 
delightful book which I fear you may have read, but 
yet it will bear being read again, the best thing that has 
come from America for years.* I think I can guess 
at your tastes, but it is not easy to say what one cares 
to read in time of trouble — anything serious the mind 
asks to be relieved from, and anything very light seems 
mocking at our trouble, but I shall see. This occur- 
rence is mortifying to us in another way, for we had 
fully hoped to see you and F. with us at some little 
gathering or so, this Christmas, and your names and 
address were down for the purpose, but this is only 
pleasure deferred. 

** We dined at Sir Henry Thompson's last night, to 
see a sort of test of the acting powers of a young lady, 
a Miss (Desmond) Ryan. She played in * Perfection,' 
the Cork leg story — prettily, but a drawing-room 
audience are the worst critics, naturally. We shall 
dine out on Xmas Day, we are too small a party to 
keep the feast at home, and we go on the Eve to Fred 
Evans's, if his father keeps better. Otherwise we shall 
be about as quiet as you. I am not cynical, I hope, 
but I do not like family gatherings. I am very glad 
you like the verses. Have you read the Almanac — and 
the Pocket-Book ? — say then. In fact, if I knew what 
you don't see, I could send you papers, and it is no 
favour (I wish I could do you one), for I am loaded with 
periodicals, and it is only the bit of string. Tell Frank, 
with my best regard, that I have pity for him much, 
apart from his anxiety, for a husband and father can 
do so little in a sick house, however good his intent is, 

* " The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table." 

383 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

and he is almost in the way. I write with some pain 
and difficulty, and rather a scrawl, but you will make 
out most of it — so with our united best messages. 

** Very faithfully yours, 

" Shirley Brooks." 
Sad to relate, Shirley's optimism was not justified, 
for the little boy died after but twelve days' illness. 
The following letter was dictated to one of his sons : — 

Ditto to Ditto. 

" Thursday. 

" My dear Mrs. Romer, 

" I am too ill to be able to write, and Mrs. Brooks 
cannot trust herself to do so. Were it otherwise, words 
were worse than idle in presence of such an affliction. 
We can but say God support and strengthen you. 
" Yours in deep sympathy, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

When he was able to take up the pen again, he 
wrote : — 

Ditto to Ditto. 
" My dear Mrs. Frank, 

" I should have writ sooner, but it is only within 
the last two days that I have been able to write at all, 
and still, as you see, my hand is not free. I have had 
a very tiresome attack in the most tiresome of places, 
my right wrist. I hope it is going away. I went out 
yesterday for the first time for a week. I went to the 
' Bedford.' Mrs. Lemon was there. I need hardly say 
how you were alluded to, or how deep was the regret 
that visiting you, as yet, is not to be. 

" I rejoice that you think of going out of town. It 

384 



IN RED INK 

was, of course, what naturally occurred to me, as the 
one thing for you to do, and you will return to town 
to a new place, I trust. But I will allude no more 
to the past. Time is the only true physician. 

" We have had but a dull Xmas — we had some 
friends on the Eve, and had things been otherwise, you 
and Frank would (had you pleased) have been among 
them. I, of course, had to give up everything — even 
a dinner at Sir Henry Thompson's to meet Browning — 
however he was ill too, and did not go. I have been 
able to do nothing but read, and dictate a little. In 
fact, I have been more uncomfortable than for a very 
long time. I will write again when I can do so with 
more ease — if you leave town first give me your 
address. ..." 

The following entry in the Diary is in red ink, and is 
that referred to at the beginning of this chapter : — 
" Dec. 22nd. 

" The doctor, Mr. Barker, came, and I casually 
mentioned that I felt in walking, a shortness of breath. 
He very carefully and repeatedly auscultated me. 
He said I had an obstruction in a valve of my heart — 
a glutinous deposit. He desired me not to walk fast, 
or to run upstairs. I said I was surprised, for I had 
been most carefully examined when effecting my last 
assurance. He said that had the affair then existed, 
it could not have been overlooked, so it must have set 
up since. There was no fatty degeneration. He said 
that there was no need to believe in danger, men lived 
to old age with such things, but I must be careful, and 
he would examine me again in a month." 

The entry is continued in black ink : — 
" So ! Well, I have no clinging to life, but I could 
wish, D.V., to live to place the boys where they should 
be earning their own living, and they will have had a 

385 

26— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

good education. Emily is very careful, and could 
manage on the assurance money, but it would be a 
difficult life for her, poor child, and a change, unless 
she married again. I shall say nothing about it yet, 
but be careful, as advised, and earn every sovereign 
I can. The rest is with Him, Who has let me do a good 
deal for her and others, and may be pleased to let me 
go on doing it." 



386 



CHAPTER XVII 

1870 — Last Days of Mark Lemon — His Death — Editorship of Punch 
Offered to S. B. and Accepted — Death of Charles Dickens — 
S. B.'s Inauguration — Gone ad majores, 1870. 




HE whole of January 
Shirley was ailing and 
more or less confined to 
the house. Nevertheless 
he continued to turn out 
his quantum of work, 
dictating when he could 
not write with his own 
hand. The crisis came 
on January 26th, when 
he was seized in heart 
and leg by gout and 
erysipelas. For ten days 
he lay in great danger. 



387 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Then came several weeks of gradual convalescence. 
But, though there were four full years of work before 
him, it is doubtful whether he ever recovered his 
former vigour. On the top of his illness came the 
shock of his chief's death and the assumption of new 
responsibilities — responsibilities in which he would 
have revelled in his vigorous youth, but which were 
now to prove too great a tax upon the strength of 
which he had been all too prodigal in the past. 

On March 22nd he is able to get back to his beloved 
diary, when he at once sets to work to " write up " 
from rough notes the daily events of the preceding 
eight weeks. 

Under dale Jan. I9th but written on March 22nd. 

" Thank God ! Once more resume entries. I write 
on the 22nd of March, Tuesday, having been in bed 
nearly all the intermediate time. I have some rough 
memoranda of the days before I was taken ill, and some 
entries in a mem. book from the 15th February. The 
longest spell of illness I remember, since a boy. May 
it have done me good, in soul and in body. Of the 
latter I am assured by my doctor — for the former 
I shall set down little, as yet, save that I have had 
leisure to think of many things, and these thoughts 
were not aegri somnia. I am told that for a short time, 
at the beginning, I was in danger. Is not that enough 
to write ? " 

" Jan. 2&h. 

" This was the day, or rather it was this night, that 
I was * taken ill,' and the old phrase fits. I had not 
meant to go to the Punch dinner, for I had a bad pain 
in my wrist, and the weather was very cold, but a letter 
from M. L., saying that he was forbidden to come to 

388 



SERIOUSLY ILL 

town, compelled me to go. I attended, and the cut 
was my suggestion.* Came home in a close cab, 
talked a good while with E. and went up. As I began 
to undress I was seized with violent shivers, which 
lasted a long time after I was in bed. I have no 
particular recollection of details, for I kept no notes, 
but here began my long illness." 

" Jan. 21th. 

" To-night I knocked up, and the doctor, Edgar 
Barker, was sent for. And E. managed to see Sir 
Henry Thompson, and somehow got him to offer to 
assist E. Barker, which gave her confidence, and which 
was therefore well. I think that it was to-night that 
they saw me, and examined my legs. On the left there 
were darkish veins. There was talk of erysipelas, but 
this was soon got over. But I afterwards heard that 
there was congestion, or rather apprehended con- 
gestion, of the liver, and that there was doubt as to 
whether the doctors would succeed. A nurse was 
ordered — I have never had one since I was a child. 
And so I was regularly laid up, with all the sick-room 
appliances. I had to give up all work, which was 
most distressing to me, but somehow things shaped 

* " John Bright's New Reform Bill — ' Reform Yourselves.' " 
John Bright was by no means one of Punch's favourites. Neverthe- 
less the truth embodied in the peroration to his great speech at 
Birmingham on Jan. 11th could not be ignored. "If we could 
subtract," he said, " from the ignorance, the poverty, the suffering, 
the sickness and the crime, which are now witnessed amongst us, the 
ignorance, the poverty, the suffering and the crime which are caused 
by one single, but most prevalent, bad habit or vice — the drinking 
needlessly of that which destroys body and mind and home and 
family — do we not all feel that this country would be changed, and 
so changed for the better, that it would be almost impossible for us 
to know it again ? " 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

themselves, and every one behaved very kindly and 
considerately." 

" Jan. 2^ih. 

" By means of an arrangement with Grindlays, I 
paid my chief Life Assurance, and the thought that the 
receipt was in the tin box behind my head comforted 
me more, during my illness, than I can well say." 

" Feb. 3rd. 

" I caused the paragraph below to be put into the 
Pall Mall, partly to save myself trouble, partly because 
such exaggerated nonsense gets into the papers. It 
was copied, of course, and produced a crop of 
civiUties, more or less genuine. 

*' Pall Mall Gazette (written in red ink). 
" * We regret to hear that Mr. Shirley Brooks is lying 
seriously ill at his house in the Regent's Park. Over- 
work and an attack of gout had unfavourably prepared 
Mr. Brooks for the cold of last week, and on Wednesday 
week (after presiding at the Punch dinner, in the 
absence from illness of Mr. Mark Lemon), Mr. Brooks 
was seized with spasms and shiverings, which pros- 
trated him. His medical advisers report favourably 
of the case, but have strictly forbidden the least 
attention to business or the reception of visitors.' " 

Under date Feb. 4th he pastes into the diary the 
following paragraph written by J. W. Davison, in the 
Musical World : — 

" All the world will regret that Mr. Shirley Brooks 
has been seriously ill ;j all the world will rejoice that 
our best modern essayist and brightest conversational 
wit is pronounced by Sir Henry Thompson to be 
out of danger." 

390 



A SICK MAN'S JOKE 

" Feb. \&h. 

" N.B. — I have always, during my illness, read the 
papers thoroughly." 

" Feb. mth. 

" My knees became gouty, and there was a relapse, 
as they called it. . . . Sent Kiki a cut, good, about 
this, but, as usual, an artist never sees what you see."* 

" March 3rd. 

" Good story about Nathaniel Cooke f and all his 
kin going to hear N. C.'s son, a young parson, preach 
his first sermon, and the youth's text being * Suffer 
me first to go and bury my father.' Mrs. C. is said 
to have suggested his being stopped ! " 

" March 5lh. 

" A bad day for me. Miss Matthews kindly brought 
the carriage, with wraps, etc., and E. and I went with 
her for a drive twice round the Park. I enjoyed it 
hugely, but there was an E. wind, which brought back 
the gout, and sent me back to bed for many days." 

" March 6th. 

" Got up, but found myself so bad that I went to 
bed again." 

" March \2th. 

" A civility in the Press, but it says I have no humour. 
It lies. I am overflowing with humour, but I don't 

* Du Maurier did see it after many days, vide " The Invalid 
Author," on April 20th. The legend runs as follows : — 

" Wife. ' Why, nurse is reading a book, darling ! Who gave it her ? ' 

" Husband (in bed). ' I did, my dear.' 

" Wife. ' What book is it ? ' 

" Husband. ' It's my last.' 

" Wife. ' Darling ! when you knew how important it is that she 
shouldn't go to sleep / ' " 

f Herbert Ingram's partner. 

391 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

show it ! Heard from Robert Cooke — am engaged to 
lecture on the 5th prox., and am as hkely to pull in 
the O. and C. boat race." 

" March \&h. 

" Sent Keene, Charles, an idea for a cut. It came 
out in No. 1499, ' Emollit mores,' only the meaning of 
the Latin is destroyed by the speaker not being a 
votary of ' art.' " * 

" March \9th. 

" M. L. had concocted a very kind paragraph about 
me and the ' Essence of P.' foi Punch, but I thought 
it too kind for such a paper, so cut it down to a few 
words. He sa3^s the ' Essence ' is perpetually bothered 
for. A pensive public must wait — as I do." 

" April 3rd. 

** There is a book by one Cecil Hay, full of personal 
sketches, and I am said to figure therein as ' Mr. 
Synical Suave.' Didn't know that I was either, mats 
n'importe."1[ 

" April! th. 

" Barker came, saw me in my den, and after a careful 
examination, declared me to be ' Renovated, and 
discharged cured,' and said he should not visit me 
again. Listened to my heart, and said it was exactly 
as when he first did so, that this was a good sign, as it 
had been ' tried ' by the illness. But I am not to run 
fast, or upstairs. I thanked him for all his attention, 
of course. D. G. again and always." 

"April nth. 

" Walked out, received the homage of my tradesmen, 
Williams especially bawling over his fishes that he was 
glad to see me." 

* Vide Punch, April 2nd, p. 136. 
t Quoted in a previous chapter. 

392 



WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE 

" April I3th. 

" The day being warm, I went off to Whitefriars, and 
d. with Punch, first time since 26th Jan. Cordially 
welcomed by the unusually small party — there were 
M. L., P. L., Sketchley, W. H. B., (Fred away because 
of Pater, but they say needlessly alarmed), S. B., H. M., 
and Jackides. I suggested my cut of ' Mrs. Phaeton,' 
which was assented to."* 
" April 16th. 

" Went with E. to the opening of the new Vaudeville. 
. . . Montagu spoke my Address, not very perfectly, 
but with plaudit, and then we came away."t 
" April mh. 

" Tenniel has made a fine double cut of Mrs. Phaeton, 
but it wants a word or two of explanation." 

" April 22nd. 

" Wrote * Essence of Parliament 'J — as I write the 
proof is brought me." 

" April 29th. 

"At 3 to the Private View of the Royal Academy. 
Everybody there, and it was a sort of re-entry into 
society for me — I was congratulated to an enormous 
extent." 

At the Private View he has the pleasure of seeing 
Mrs. Frank Romer's first Academy picture, and, 
determined that his young friend's picture should not 

* This cartoon might fitly be pubhshed to-day. It illustrates the 
growing desire on the part of women to obtain the electoral franchise. 
Phaeton, a woman, is represented driving the chariot of the sun, 
to which are harnessed three steeds named " Taxation," " Foreign 
Affairs," and " Legislation." John Bull stands by nursing a baby. 

f H. J. Montague, at that time partner in the Vaudeville. Shirley 
was often weak about the spelling of names. 

I For the first time since his illness, to which in the first paragraphs 
he makes covert allusion. 

393 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

be overlooked, does a little pulling of the strings on her 
behalf : — 

S. B. TO Mrs. F. Romer (Mrs. Jopling Rowe). 

"18^^ May, 1870. 

" My dear Mrs. Frank, 

" I was glad to see this notice (enclosed), slight as it 
is, for I mentioned the picture to the critic at the 
Private View, and feared he had forgotten it. I also 
spoke to Sala, he put in a word, but I hope he will 
give another notice. The Era shall be rectified this 
week,* and I have also written to another quarter. 
You don't want this, as you are making your way 
capitally by yourself, but in this bustling age all these 
things have a certain use. 

** Always yours faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks. 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 
" N.W. 
" Monday. 
" Wind, N.N.N. 
" E.E.E. 
" 9th May, 1870. " Fires. 

" My dear Miss Matthews, 

"I* •!• "^ T* V 

"The Bishop came, but though very affable, he did not 
tell me any very good stories — now ' S. Winchester ' f 
is full of them— (I mean ' S. Winton,' by the way), but 
I heard one from a lady. She was remarking, to a sort 



* It had " masculinified " the young artist's name. 
t Samuel Wilberforce. 

3d4 



ILLNESS OF MARK LEMON 

of petitioner for her charity, on the state of his ward- 
robe, and he said, " Yes, my lady. I dresses with a 
needle, and I undresses with a knife." 

" I dare say that you have been up to town, and have 
seen the Pictures, so I need say nothing about the 
Private View. There seemed ' a many ' good things, 
but nothing great, and Gerome's ' Execution of Ney ' 
is the most powerful work in the rooms. I mentioned 
this fact to sundry Academicians, who did not seem 
to see it.* . . . 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

" May 9th. 

" Byron t is in a rage, because the Sunday Times 
has accused him of plagiarism, in a song in Punch — 
bosh, but we'll kick the S.T. when the kickable region 
happens to turn our way." 

Mark Lemon was now lying very ill at Crawley. 

" May 10th. 

" Resolved to go and see dear Mark Lemon, though 
not without misgivings lest the visit should perturb 
him. Down by 11.40 from Victoria. Just at the gate 
saw Lally, who went back with me. M. L. was in the 
summer-house, so I first went into the parlour. They 
were rejoiced to see me. Polly flew at me — there were 
Mrs. L., Betty, Katie. Thy did not think that M. 
wanted warning, so I went out to him. I was not much 
shocked at his appearance, though he looked haggard, 
and there were swellings under his eyes. . . . 

"... I am now glad I went down, though to see 
my poor friend so is distressing. I think it did him 
good to see me — his farewell was very affectionate. 

* Not unnaturally, G6r6me being a Frenchman ! 

t H. J. Byron, the playwright, who was a casual contributor. 

395 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

' I shall not see you again this week/ he said. * No,' 
I said, ' I shall not come down again this week.' "* 

" May 21s/. 

" Met E. and we went down to the College to see the 
athletics. Very splendid day, but awfully hot. Rego, 
who was looking particularly well, and may I say, 
handsome, ran, but as he expected, not to any great 
purpose, but he was third in the great Consolation race. 
I lounged about, smoked, had slight refreshments, 
chatted, and watched the excellent sports, and should 
have been quite happy but that I had to get back for 
Punch, and expected to miss the late train. Dr. 
Schmidt asked me to make a speech when the prizes 
were given away. I could not refuse, and it was not 
bad fun, sitting in the centre of the crowd of boys 
and of ladies. I never spoke in the open-air before. 
E. said ' it was a capital speech ' — it was very short." 

" May 22nd. 

** Since writing the above lines I have lost the oldest 
and dearest friend I had in the world, except my wife. 
Mark Lemon died rather before 8 in the morning of 
Monday the 23rd. Requiescat in pace ! A better man, 
with a good man's faults, which are part of his good- 
ness, I have never known. Charles Sabine was as 
good. But I will write down nothing, as yet, but 
occurrences. I shall be able to print something, and 
I will not forestall." 

" May 23rd. 

" Letter from Polly Lemon, with a kind message 
from Mark, dictated yesterday. Telegram from Harry, 
announcing his ' good father's ' death. Aye, he was 
a good father. . . . 

"... Business must be done, though friends die, 

* This was their last meeting. 

396 



DEATH OF MARK LEMON 

and so it will be when I am gone. We tried to make 
a picture, on which I had written T. on Sunday, but we 
were out of tune. From him I went to the ' Bedford ' 
for a few minutes, and so to Whitefriars. We were to 
have met, a small party, to-night at the ' Bedford,' but 
this was put off, and only Tenniel and I, and B. & E. 
dined in a private room at the * Rainbow,' upstairs. 
My cut was adopted — about the race, i.e., Punch and 
various characters riding, and he winning — neither new 
nor good, but good enough for the Derby idiots — as 
I now think 'em — having gone to 7 or 8 Derbies. We 
dropped into silence at times, but there was no demon- 
stration of sorrow — which was best. . . . Wrote some 
lines about it, to Pall Mall Gazette, which Fred sent 
and which appeared, with the addition I asked for, 
being in no mood to turn sentences. Old George 
Cruikshank called on me at Whitefriars to express his 
regret, or rather to talk about himself and end with a 
tea-total moral, which I snubbed. Never cared for 
this man, and yet he is a wondrous artist in a limited 
way. E. had had Lillie with her, and Ewing had 
called, and also written to offer to go to Crawley and 
take a cast with a view to a bust. It would, if successful, 
be a good thing for him, and pleasant for us." 

" May 24th. 

" Thought a good deal, in bed, about Ewing's pro- 
posal — were men only concerned it would be matter 
of course, but women may have a reluctance to have 
the features of their sacred dead touched, although 
only that such features may be preserved for years. 
But resolved to risk it, and take Ewing down, first 
sending a long and careful preparatory telegram to 
Polly. Down with Ewing by the 11.50, and Harry, 
much disturbed by the event, met us. The matter 
was to be left entirely to m^. I would know what He 

397 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

would have wished. I knew, I said, that he would 
have desired that those who loved him should have a 
memorial of him, and that he had been glad when 
John Leech's face had been so preserved. To the 
Cottage. Ewing, with fit instinct, waited in the 
garden with his assistant. I saw Lally, Betty, and 
Polly, and they seemed — no, they were comforted in a 
measure by seeing me. Then I went into the drawing- 
room, in which lay, in an oak shell, the remains of my 
dear friend — very noble in death. The cast was 
taken tenderly, rapidly, reverently, and Ewing said 
that it was admirable. All vestiges of the work were 
cleansed utterly away, and for the last time, having 
touched hand and brow, I looked at my friend of 20 
years, my faithfullest friend, and left the dead. After 
the hospitalities, never forgotten there, I took Ewing 
away, to leave the girls with their mother, and we went 
to Tally's, and smoked, and laughed with her pretty 
children, Daisy and Ethel, till 4, when Ewing went 
away with his man. Walked about the garden with Polly 
(she talked excitedly and rapidly), and heard much 
from her, and I also heard much from Harry. Clear 
that towards the very last day there were wanderings, 
but he recovered himself. H. thinks that his last 
word was the name of his wife — and it may well have 
been. She could not see me, but sent me all loving 
messages — I have the love of this household. The 
Rev. Mr. Blaker came, and at Polly's wish, I drove over 
with him to Ifield, and in the churchyard looked at the 
places which would serve for the grave. My choice 
was confirmed by Polly, on our return. B. spoke of 
the enormous good the Lemons had done in the two 
parishes — much more than money could do. ... So 
for the last time I left Mark Lemon in his much-loved 
house." 

The same day he wrote : — 

398 



LEMON'S DEATH-MASK 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 
" Tuesday {May 24th). 

" My dear Leigh, 

" Thanks for your kind note. For myself, I am 
well enough, and I am now going down to Crawley. 
I would willingly have delayed my visit, but there is a 
reason for its being paid to-day, which I will tell you 
hereafter. It is not easy, it is hardly possible, to realize 
what has occurred or that we shall not hear the genial 
voice again — here — but the impression deepens, pain- 
fully, every hour. However, moriendum est semel 
omnibus, a cold consolation. Happily we have a 
better. 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

"S. B. 

" Tenniel and I have hammered out a double cut 
which he thinks he can make effective. 

" He ' died quite gently and as if going to sleep.' 
" P. Leigh, Esq." 

" May 26th. 

" A very hard day's work, to get free for to-morrow. 
Sent paragraph to the Pall Mall Gazette as to the 
funeral. Wrote 

*' Leader for Illustrated. 

" Memorial of M. L. for Punch. 

" The H. N. for India. 

" The Derby prophecy for Punch. 

Ewing wrote to ask us to come to-day and see what he 
had done towards bust. Of course, I could not get 
away, but E. went, and returned with a most favourable 
account. ... I was exceedingly tired to-day." 

399 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

This is what he wrote in the Illustrated London 
News : — 

"NOTHING IN THE PAPERS. 

" I devote a few lines, only, to a record — I make it 
nothing more — of a death which cannot as yet be spoken 
of in this column with any effort to do justice to the 
subject. A close personal friendship of more than 
twenty years has suddenly ceased — Mark Lemon has 
been called to his rest. Be this said, and nothing else 
thereon, by one who had hoped that many another 
year of that friendship would have been permitted 
by the Supreme Will. Hereafter, some attempt will 
be made by me to prepare for this journal a memorial 
that may be less unworthy of the event, at present for 
me and for many another an affliction which has to be 
realised, not written about. Meantime, I venture, in 
right of that long intimacy, which now seems to have 
been so short, to say to those who have already given 
kindly and eloquent public utterance to their regrets, 
that such testimony of honour for the departed, though 
it cannot console those mourners whose grief is most 
sacred of all, has yet been welcome to a saddened and 
a darkened home. 

"S. B." 

In Punch he wrote the full-page memorial which all 
can read and of which the following must here 
suffice : — 

" 'Twas his pride to teach us so to bear 

Our blades, as he bore his, keep the edge keen, 
But strike above the belt : and ever wear, 

The armour of a conscience clear and clean. 
* ♦ ♦ 

" Never self-seeking, keen for others' rise 

And gain, before his own, he loved to see 
Young wrestlers of his training win the prize, 

Nor asked what his part of the prize should be." 

400 



WHO WILL BE EDITOR ? 

" May 27th. 

"... And so we laid him to rest. We loved him, 
better than others whom we had buried, but I saw no 
tears, and I shed none. . . . Home. Emily had 
d. at the Y.'s — anything rather than loneliness. Glad 
to sleep. * He sleeps well.' " 

" May 28th. 

" Heard from Leigh, who has been asked to write 
a memoir of M. L. for the Graphic. He says the John 
Bull names Harry Lemon as the new Editor ! " 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" 29th May, 1870. 

" My dear Leigh, 

" Your considerateness in such a matter is exactly, 
as they say in Japan, ' behaviour that was to be 
expected.' But I can see no possible objection to your 
writing the memoir, if it seems good to you. I could, 
of course, do nothing for the Graphic because it is in 
antagonism to my old friends,* but for the sake of the 
departed, I should be glad to see a good memoir of him 
there, and elsewhere. I have undertaken one for the 
Illustrated, but it will be very difficult, as to the early 
part, for I know but little of his youthful life, and I 
shall pass over this rapidly, and confine myself to what 
I really know. 

" I don't think the John Bull has made a right guess, f 
Theirs is amusing to those who know the person 
indicated. I have also been told of another, Mr. 
Gilbert, the dramatist, but am also ' unconvinced ' as 
to him. / dare say we shall hear more on Tuesday. 

* The proprietors of the Illustrated London News 
t As to who was to be the new editor. 

401 

27— (2-97) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Sad things have happened since I sat down last 
Sunday for my quiet correspondence, etc. It seems 
hke a dream. 

" Do call at Mr. Ewing's, and see the bust. He is 
specially prepared to welcome you, and I think you will 
like his work, and him. 8 George St., Hanover Square, 
(nearly opposite the church), and his name on the door 
— also look at his other busts, and make him tell you 
who they are. 

" Ever yours, 

"S. B." 

" May ^Ist. 

"Went to Whitefriars— saw W. B. and F. M. E. 
and they offered me 

the Editorship of ' Punch.' I accepted it* 
Business arrangements deferred till another meeting, 
but this talk held now that announcement might be 
made at dinner. . . . then we went to Purfleet, Tenniel 
joining us by train. . . . This was the party : — 

"Leigh. C. Keene. Tom Agnew. Burnand. Sketchley. 

Fred. W. H. B. 

" Tenniel. S. B. Wm. Agnew. Horace Mayhew. 

After d., W. B. made the necessary little speech, which 
he did in good taste. The announcement was most 
kindly received by all, and Leigh, as the oldest, rose 
and expressed the great satisfaction felt. My health. 
I spoke shortly, not well, and begged their co-operation 
in the old spirit. Perhaps when we were all there — I 
mean all together at the old place, I might say more. 
Whether Elijah's mantle might have fallen on Elisha, 
or not, he would seek to be true to them and the work. 
We all came up together in a saloon carriage. ... So 
home, found Emily and Lillie, who had been to the 

♦ These words are written in red ink. 

402 



APPOINTED EDITOR OF "PUNCH" 

French play. Told them that the Ed. of P. had the 
honour to salute them, and had L.'s congratulations, 
and when she had gone, Emily's kiss. I hope the 
change is for the good of those I love, and believing this, 
I am deeply thankful, but I have lost a dear friend. 
We are in God's hand." 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

"15^ June, 1870. 

" My dear Miss Matthews, 

"... Yesterday I accepted the Editorship of 
Punch. It will be a tie, and give me trouble, but I seem 
to have been generally expected to take the situation, 
and it is not good to disappoint General Expectations, 
as he is a stern officer. Wish me good fortune — but 
I know you do. 

" I was offered a seat on a four-horse coach for the 
Derby, alongside M. Gustave Dore. But I am here. 
Who says I have no self-denial ? Besides, I have seen 
a Derby or two, and don't want to see any more. 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks. 
" Miss Matthews." 

The death of Mark Lemon came as a violent shock to 
Shirley on the top of his own severe illness, and, proud 
as he was to find himself in the editorial chair of the 
journal he loved so well, the honour was but poor 
compensation to him for the loss of his old and much- 
loved chief. At first he almost shrank from the great 
responsibihty of the office, " but," writes Mr. Silver 
to me, "it is certain that he bravely did his best, in 
spite of faihng health and spirits, to follow worthily 
the course pursued by the first Editor." 

403 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" We feel/' wrote Shirley himself, " that the best 
homage we can pay to him who is gone before, the one 
tribute which, had he foreseen this early summons to 
his rest, he would have desired or permitted, is to 
declare our united resolve that, to the best of our 
ability, our future work for this Journal shall be done 
in the spirit long and lovingly taught us by the loved 
and revered friend who has passed to the reward of 
a noble life." And, short though Shirley's tenure of 
his great position was to be, who shall say that he did 
not during those few years loyally and nobly act up 
to the principles which he had so clearly enunciated — 
principles tersely expressed by Thackeray, " May 
Punch laugh honestly, hit no foul blow, and tell the 
truth when at his very broadest grin — never forgetting 
that if Fun is good. Truth is still better, and Love best 
of all ! " 

Fortunately for the paper, he had long been Mark 
Lemon's right-hand man. He had been the power 
behind the throne. He was steeped in its traditions. 
Punch was, for him, the first paper in the world. He 
had gone through the mill himself. He had done every 
kind of work on its literary side. He knew where to go 
to get the best in every department. 

But much and varied as the work was which he had 
done for Punch, it was, I think, his personality, his 
influence, his whole-hearted devotion to the paper's 
interests, his infectious enthusiasm, his sudden accesses 
of seriousness in the midst of laughter, his fertility of 
resource, that rendered him most fitted for his high 
position. Here is what Sir Francis Burnand, when 

404 



''PRIMUS INTER PARES" 

himself Editor of Punch, wrote of his former chief 
thirty years later in the Pall Mall Magazine : — 

" Shirley Brooks, our editor after Mark, was hand- 
some, sparkling-eyed, brilliant in conversation, quick- 
tempered yet easy-going, and the cheeriest of cheery 
boon companions. Perhaps had he been less cheery he 
might have lasted longer. He had a facile knack of 
versifying, and could write a stinging epigram, a genial 
paragraph, or a light and airy article, according to his 
humour at the moment, or the special requirements 
of the time and circumstances. He might have done 
well as a novelist or dramatist, had he not been gifted 
with a fatal facihty for journalism. Long before he 
assumed the reins he had been our Cartoon Suggester- 
in-Chief, and had made a decided hit with his ' Essence 
of Parliament,' for which his early apprenticeship in 
the gallery of the House had especially qualified him. 
Tom Taylor couldn't touch him in this line, though he 
subsequently attempted it. Shirley Brooks was a 
warm-hearted friend and a bitter enemy, but his 
enmity was not of long duration." 

We may believe that it was no easy task which 
Shirley had undertaken. It needed a light hand to 
drive, or rather I should say handle, such a team as he 
found under his guidance. Keene, Tenniel, Leigh, 
Mayhew, Sketchley, Tom Taylor, and last but not 
least, Burnand, were one and all men who had their 
own wills, their own opinions, their own strong idiosyn- 
crasies. They were no mere spiritless subordinates 
whose opinions could be disregarded. They were in no 
sense the puppets of their chief. He was not a musician 
playing tunes upon an instrument, every note of which 
was obedient to his touch. They were men who had 

405 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

proved themselves. They were equals. He might be 
nominally dictator, nominally primus inter pares. The 
final responsibility might, rest with him. But, on all 
important matters he was but chief of a cabinet, whose 
united opinion must be allowed to over-ride his own. 
And it is admitted on all hands that Shirley, the Editor, 
was no different from Shirley, Lemon's right-hand 
man. " Do you feel bigger ? " said Mr. Frith. " No, I 
don't," said Shirley. Increased work and responsibility 
of course there was, but assumption of superiority 
there was not. 

Indeed, it is eloquent of the man's unspoiled kindness 
and good-nature to find him, even at such a crisis, not 
too busy to copy out a paragraph in a newspaper lest 
a struggling young friend should have failed to see it. 

S. B. TO Mrs. F. Romer (Mrs. Jopling Rowe). 
" Dear Mrs. Frank, 

" There is a kind word for you in to-day's 
AthencBum. I copied it this morning, but forgot to post 
the letter. Probably Frank may have seen and bought 
the paper, but I mention it." 

" Always yours faithfully, 

" S. Brooks. 
" Mrs. F. Romer." 

A glance through the diary of this year shows it fuller 
than ever of allusions to people of importance in their 
day : — 

Mrs. Rousby (the actress) : [" She is so pretty — 
and pale " ] ; George Meredith : [" who abused me 
for not doing less journalism and more fiction. Easy 
to talk but not so easy to feed young ravens "] ; 
Tinsley, the publisher : [" sorry for my illness, and 

406 



PEOPLE OF IMPORTANCE 

offering any of a string of books. It is really very 
civil. I never did much for him. He was as good as 
his word and sent some twenty volumes, chiefly novels, 
acceptable in one's state "] ; Charles Keene : [" a 
gentleman is C. K."] ; Mrs. Albert Smith (Mary 
Keeley) : [" what a dainty, bright, saucy, yet kindly 
little thing I remember her. She played in the 
' Creole ' and ' Wigwam ' for me "] ; George Hodder : 
["I don't know when I have had such a good laugh as 
at his platitudes (in the Memoirs). However, it is very 
ungrateful, for he writes gushingly of me, owns to a 
kindness I had forgotten and prints, as another, a letter 
I have equally forgotten, but which was only a means 
of saving his feelings in regard to sundry verses which 
would not do for Once a Week "] ; Ledger : [" very 
unhappy because I suggest giving up the Era "*] ; Lord 
Tenterden : [" a gentlemanly old man for whom I had 
a liking "] ; Sir Charles Russell (afterwards Lord 
Russell of Killowen) : [" who sends me an idea for 
a sketch, but as it would make young ladies stand on 
their heads, on the ice, I take it the value is not large "] ; 
Magee, Bishop of Peterborough : [" a small, dark, 
keen-eyed man, of whom I reserve my ideas. Very 
pleasant, of course, like all bishops "] ; Mrs. Tom 
Wood : [" who insists on my using the female name 
* Gladys ' in some novel. She meant it for her last born, 
but this came up boy "] ; Charles Reade : ["At his 
play, ' Free Labour,' there were but three people in 
the stalls and they went away after the first act "] ; 
J. W. Nicholson : [" wrote to him with my photograph, 
' We have heard the chimes at midnight and the clocks 
a trifle later,' as I told him "] ; Newman Hall : [" whom 
I talked to and liked. He has been citing ' Lothair ' 

* As a matter of fact he continued his contributions until his 
death. 

407 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

in his ministrations "] ; the Burnands : [" all very 
pleasant, and the children are very nice — but it is sad 
to see them with mourning signs.* He and I always 
talk seriously on the Catholic Faith, never for mere 
argument "] ; ** Pater " Evans : [" another dear old 
friend is lost to me in this world, but he has his 
reward "] ; Lord Clarendon : [" a fine old Whig, fond 
of cigars "] ; Vizetelly : [" said in the papers to be 
drowned at Margate. He is not, and is thought to 
have sent the par. to the P. M. Gazette, to get himself 
talked about "] ; Leslie Stephen : [" I seconded him 
for the ' Garrick '"] ; Sterndale Bennett : [" always very 
cordial "] ; Ferdinand de Lesseps : [" Fuller offered 
to present me to him, but I did not care about it, for 
which I suppose I ought to be ashamed, but my 
hero-worship is limited, and not in the engineering line. 
I have known many engineers " ] ; Sir Henry Bulwer 
(next year created Lord Bailing and Bulwer) ; Bellew : 
[" his dinners always good, but one mixes too many 
things "] ; Lord O'Hagan : [" I Hke him "] ; Theophilus 
Burnand : [" he is a most pleasant person and gives 
a perfect dinner. Moreover his house is full of fine 
pictures. I was much pleased to hear from our host 
of his purchase of dear old John Phillip's picture 
(hanging in the drawing-room). The Priest telling tales 
over the brazier, to laughing women. P. asked £600, 
but B. insisted on giving him £800. ... B. has been 
(since) offered £3,500 for it "] ; Frederick Clay : 
[" asked me to write a Peace song for Santley, but the 
next news made it rather needless we tliought, as peace 
might come before we could arrange the howl for it "] ; 
Tom Taylor : |" wrote to him for a good poem, and he 

* For their mother, who had died on April 10th, at the age of 
twenty-eight, and to wliom Shirley makes tenderest allusion in his 
diary of that date. 

408 



A WORTHY SUCCESSOR TO LEMON 

sent me one better than usual "] ; Arcedekne : [" last 
time to see my old friend ' Archy/ as we all called him. 
He died 31st May, 1871 "] ; Lord Lytton : [" reading 
his ' King Arthur ' (new edition sent me by publisher). 
Much cleverness . . . but no poetry "] ; Robert 
Carruthers of the Inverness Courier : ["a brave old 
man "] ; Mrs. Romer (now Mrs. Jopling Rowe) : [" her 
baby to be christened and I have promised to be 
godfather. For I like this struggling, clever little 
artist "] ; Mrs. Lynn Linton : [" sends me something 
for Punch. I should be very glad to use it. Sent it 
to be set up "] ; Mrs. Mark Lemon : [" who wishes 
me to write an inscription for M. L.'s tomb "] ; Tom 
Hood : [" who points out that an initial letter used in 
Punch is copied from George Cruikshank "] ; Garibaldi : 
["I hope they will not catch (and shoot) the brave old 
stupid "] ; Lady Beaumont* : [" died to-day (Dec. 9th, 
1870). To think of her whom we saw under that porch, 
all life and smiles, being borne away from it to the 
pretty church in which we stood with her."] 

From the diary : — 
" June 2nd. 

" A nice note from Kiki — any other editor than 
myself would have been to him ' an unnatural offence.' 
My words on M. L. made Mrs. du M. weep. Comforted 
to think M. L. knew he loved him well." 

" June 3rd. [He has pasted in the following from the Athenaum.] 
" We are authorised to announce that Punch has 
been fortunate enough to find its second editor in 
Mr. Shirley Brooks, who, although he enters on office 
at a rather mature period of life, is in the fulness of 
intellectual vigour, and in every respect worthy to 
occupy the place so long held by Mr. Mark Lemon. 

* Wife of Sir G. H. Beaumont, Bart. 

409 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" * Mature ' be hanged. Nevertheless, c'est vrai. . . . 
Other papers have the new appointment. I receive 
many letters, speaking of my entire fitness for the work. 
Of this it would be idiotic in me, writing in my own 
diary, to express a doubt, for I feel none — it is my sort 
of work." 
" June 4th. 

" ' Ouida,' Miss de la Ramee, called on E. Made 
rather a favourable impression, but finished by saying, 
in reference to the demand for silence when a person 
is singing, that she heard ' hush, hush ' the other night, 
and immediately remarked that she had heard such 
cries in a minor theatre, but not in drawing-rooms, and 
that as she talked better than others, she ought to be 
listened to. There is something in the notion, only 
it doesn't come well from the good talker. It is 
Johnsonian, which a woman should not be." 
" June lOth. 

" Charles Dickens has died suddenly. He was seized 
with a fit of paralysis on Wednesday, at dinner, and 
remained unconscious until the end, a little after 6 
yesterday afternoon. Maclise, Lemon, Dickens, in two 
months. . . . He called, during my illness. I was 
about to write to him, as to his offer to use his influence 
with Gladstone for a pension for Mrs. Lemon, and I 
waited only to be told that some such provision was 
needful and would be welcome. Wrote a few lines 
about him as leader for H.N. . . ." 

" June \2th. 

" Dear old Pater * still lingers, is perfectly conscious 
of the approach of the end, and when they can make 
out the words he is using to himself, they are heard to 
be what a dying man should say, if he can. Hearing 

* Frederick Mullett Evans died on June 25th. He was one of 
the original partners in the firm of Bradbury & Evans. 

410 



SALARY AS EDITOR 

that I was there, he ' sent his Love to me/ by Amy. 
I sent him mine, by Fred, and both messages were 
from the heart." 

" June nth. 

" Wrote Preface to Vol. 58, Punch (no, next day) — 
rather a good preface — E. thought a very good one." 

" June mth. 

" We propose to offer you a thousand guineas a year, 
as Editor, and six guineas a week for contributions.'''^ 
So spoke W. H. B. in the small room next Fred's, and I, 
as matter of form, took time to consider. . . . 

" . . . . Letter from Polly at last, and a very nice 
one. ' I write to thank you in all our names for the 
papers and paragraphs you have sent, and for the 
memoirs written by you, especially in Punch and the 
Illustrated News. I know you don't want formal 
thanks, but will be better pleased to hear how reading 
your kind notices gratified and consoled us. Mother 
sends her love to Mrs. Brooks and yourself, and thanks 
you both most heartily for your excessive kindness. 
I express myself badly, but you will understand my 
meaning.' " 

" June 20th. 

" At breakfast E. learned that Tilley had called 
because Bellett (tutor of boys here on holidays), had 
told him that one of the International boys had been 
drowned ! I felt that we had no cause for fear, but 
I telegraphed to Core, and then found in the Times a 
par. I had overlooked. It was true — one of the Webers 
went to bathe on Saturday, and was drowned. Then 
came the telegram (answer in 1^ hours), ' Too true.' 
Later came a letter from Rego, with the details. He 
had arrived while the search for the body was being 

* The italicised words are written in red ink. 

411 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

made, and had stripped and gone in. Afterwards a 
number of boys were preparing to go in together, and 
make a hne, when the poor fellow was discovered. 
' It was awful,' writes R., 'to see it dragged over the 
side, the head on one side, and the arms all limp and 
draggled. Mr. Core, after giving me some brandy, 
sent me and Frames off to telegraph, and we did the 
two miles in 15 minutes — so I was greatly tired. It 
has cast a great gloom over the school, and scarcely 
a word was heard at breakfast. Is it not in 
'' Coningsby " that a similar thing is described ? ' He 
remembers what he reads." 

" June 22nd. 

" Letter from W. H. B. acknowledging mine of the 
preceding day, in which I had put the editorial terms in 
writing, and adding that if I hit on a good ' serial ' 
for Punch, it was to be the subject of a separate 
arrangement. The bargain is therefore clenched ; and 
may it prove a good one, for the sake of those for whom 
only I have much care ! " 

" June 2Qth. 

" We went to Hardman's.* . . . While we were 
there came Mr. Cooke, one of the Prince of Wales's 
tailors — sent in gilt-edged card ! He came to see H. 
about taking the Hall,f and the result was its being let 
to him for 12 weeks at £25 a week. Not bad. He 
decided on taking it, at the gate (from the gate, I mean). 
I said he said ' don't show me any more patterns.' 
Prince sent for him the other day, and when he expected 
some great order, H.R.H. complained that his trowsers 
made by some other tailor at Cowes, did not fit, and 
Cooke was to alter them. (A piece of History.)" 

* (Sir) William Hardman, Q.C., afterwards Chairman of Surrey 
Sessions. 

I The Hardmans' country house. 

412 



''JE PARLE FRANQAIS COMME UN HUITRE " 

About this time he had invited du Maurier to dine 
and meet Gustave Dore. 

S. B. TO George du Maurier. 

" Kent Terrace, 

" Sunday. 

" (Yah !) 

" This is all your mahce, wrath, spite, hate, venom 
and uncharity, and you knows it. You think, mark you, 
think, that I can't talk French, so you stay away that 
Dore may think I am stupid and make a picture of me 
in the Inferno. But I laugh your base wiles to scorn, 
Sir, for in the first place, Je parte Frangais parfaitement, 
be hanged, comme un huitre, and in the next place I 
have secured ' Ouida,' also Willert Beale,* who will be 
able to say to Gustave that though their friend was 
born before France was invented, he appreciates the 
noble nation, and loves its wines. As for your brother, 
you know we should have been delighted to see him, 
so you're not going to hide yourself behind that valiant 
Chasseur, hke — like — yes, Telamon behind the shield 
of Ajax {vide Homer). 

^ Hf ^ ^ 

" Receive the assurance of my profound forgiveness, 
and give my kindest regards to Mrs. du Maurier. 
I dined at Mr. Leith's on Friday, and a young lady 
spoke of you, but will do so no more. 

" Ever yours, 

"S. B." 

In July a little daughter was born to the Frank 
Romers, and Mrs. Romer wrote Shirley a letter, hinting 
at, but hesitating to express in so many words, their 

* Thomas Willert Beale, miscellaneous writer and operatic 
manager. 

413 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

desire that he should stand sponsor. Quick to read 
between the Unes he repHed : — 

S. B. TO Mrs. F. Romer (Mrs. Jopling Rowe). 

" My dear Mrs. Frank, 

" I have been at Brighton since Saturday, and have 
run up to-day for the dinner, and hope to get back again 
to-night till Saturday. I am too late to answer your 
question to any purpose. I believe, however, that 
Mr. Frith has returned to Ramsgate (11 Royal Crescent) 
but I am not quite sure. As regards the more interest- 
ing matter, I know that it is a difficult thing to get 
hold of the sort of sponsor (male) that one desires, 
and I am glad to see that the Church commission is 
prepared to recommend the virtual abolition of the 
oihce, by letting the papa be god-papa also, which is 
the more reasonable, as he would look somewhat blue 
if the other godfather walked into the house and 
insisted on beginning the religious education of the 
nouveaii Chretien. I don't know how to advise you 
in the matter, but I can only say that if you have 
thought over everyone else, and nobody pleases you, 
you let me know. I think it is possible that I know 
a rather stout party, of tolerably decent character 
(considering his literary avocations) who might be got 
at by me, as I believe I stand better with him than most 
people. But I hope you will find a much better one, 
and I only mention this as you may perhaps have 
meant I should recommend somebody. I shall be up 
again on Saturday for my usual hard day's work. 
I write in haste and with kind regards to your husband 
am, 

" Very faithfully yours, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

The baby was christened " Hilda Louise Shirley." 

414 



"PUNCH" AND THE '^ SATURDAY REVIE\^ 

" July 2nd. 

" By the way, saw an impertinent reference to P. 
in Saturday Review, so indited an impertinent paragraph 
in reply. I think we must fight when we get hold of 
a worthy adversary. And it will do nobody any harm 
to know that the S.R. has an unfriendly eye upon us."* 

" July 8th. 

" We went to Greenwich in the ' Cupid ' boat, and 
d. at the * Ship,' in the ' Bellot ' room. 

John H. A(gnew) T. A(gnew) 

W. H. B(radbury). Fred Evans. 

S. B. W. Agnew. 

Usual dinner — there is no invention or improvement 
at these hotels. (N.B. — I have wanted to know when 
folks began to eat white-bait here. The recently 
published Malmesbury ' Letters ' show that Mrs. Harris 
dined at Greenwich, on * the smallest fish she had ever 
seen, called white-bait,' in 1763.) W. B. proposed my 
health, as editor. I answered shortly, and asked a glass 
to the memory of dear old Mark. This dinner was 
in honour of my inauguration. We came up by rail to 
Charing X. Mem. — Took E. in my cab to Bond St., 
and gave her £2 to buy herself some little trifle in 
memory of the inauguration aforesaid — she does not 
care for jewellery, so I wished her to please herself, 
poor thing. Nobody can be less extravagant on 
herself, and I often wish she were more so." 

" July 9th. 

" The Dickens sale to-day — things fetched outrageous 
prices. Agnews gave 1,000 guineas for Frith's ' Dolly 

* The Saturday Review had advised James Grant to retire from 
the editorship of the Morning Advertizer because it had assailed 
the Pope, citing as an example Doyle's retirement from Punch 
for a like reason. Shirley's reply, entitled " Just Worth Mentioning," 
was, it must be confessed, not in his happiest manner. 

415 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Varden.' The stuffed raven, 120 guineas — to be 
photographed, I suppose. . . .* 

'* Funny thing at the ^ Bedford ' — I looked in at the 
little window, and saw Helen writing in a book — her 
diary. She had marked one day, she showed me, with 
very black marks. Of course, she was mysterious 
about it, and she having denied that it concerned a 
* he,' I said : * Then you had your pocket picked.' 
Her eyes became saucers. ' How strange you should 
say that ! ' It was so, in an omnibus, and she lost 
a good deal of money, and had told nobody. My fluke 
was prompted by a recollection of what happened to 
poor dear Emily, in New Inn days — she was robbed 
on her way to see me." 
"July nth. 

" E. called on Mrs. Dickens, first time since the death. 
Describes her as looking well, being calm, and speaking 
of matters with a certain becoming dignity. Is 
resolved not to allow Forster, or any other biographer, 
to allege that she did not make D. a happy husband, 
having letters after the birth of her ninth child, in 
which D. writes like a lover. Her eldest daughter 
visited her and declared that the separation between 
them had resulted solely from her, Mary's, own self- 
will. Miss H. has also visited her — I will not write 
about this, but the affair is to the honour of Mrs. D.'s 
heart. I imagine she has not been left much, but young 
C. D. says she shall receive the same as before." 

" July \2th. 

" It seems to be thought that the question. Peace or 
War, I may be settled to-day. Much exercised in 

* Shirley's biographer may perhaps intrude for a moment to say 
that Landor's bust which fetched ;^25 at the Dickens' sale, was 
bought by him thirty years later for four shillings and sixpence. 
It arrived at his house in a wheel-barrow. 

f Between France and Prussia. 

416 



TENNIEL'S LOYALTY 

inventing a cut for Punch. But got some ideas, and 
at the d. (in ^ Shakespeare/ ' Bedford/ present only 
Tenniel, Leigh, Fred and self), we actually made three 
cuts to do, in case there should be on Thursday, War, 
Peace, or Nothing Final." 

" July Uth. 

" The Times declaring peace, as indeed we had a 
right to expect it, had not war been resolved on and 
the Spanish business been a mere excuse, I went to 
Tenniel, and settled that we should have our Peace 
Cut, Napoleon as Bombastes. Which was drawn. 
But before it could be cut came war news. ..." 

" July 1 5th. 

" War is declared by France against Prussia. Fred 
Evans (with Lloyd) came to tell me, 6 p.m. to-day. 
He is gone on to Tenniel, who, if he can, must knock out 
another cut. . . . 

" After d. went over to Tenniel (pain still in my side, 
and so on several days), and after easily showing him 
that his done cut would not do, got him to undertake 
a second, the ' Duel to the Death,'* one of our three 
of Tuesday. He is a most loyal fellow, and threw 
over a pleasant garden-party to-morrow that he might 
work. He likes these things, therefore be it noted 
to his praise. To me work is preferable to garden and 
most other parties, except a small dinner with nice 
women." 

" July I6th. 

" War news confirmed. If these two armies, with 
all their arms of precision, and some new engines of 

* Britannia vainly endeavouring to keep the peace, between 
Louis Napoleon and the King of Prussia, who stand ready for a duel. 
France {log.), " Pray stand back. Madam. You mean well ; but 
this is an old family quarrel, and we must fighi it out." 

417 

28 — (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

which we hear, meet in a pitched battle, the slaughter 
will be horrible. I know not whether I regard this 
with sufficient awe, feeling that mere death is not an 
evil, if we consider, at all, what He is Who sends for us. 
But for the agony, and the thirst of the wounded men 
I cannot express my compassion." 

" July 21th. 

" The last cut, issued to-day, proved a grand success, 
the printers had to go to press several times. It was 
against Napoleon. But we are just, and the next is 
to apportion blame about equally."* 

That his sympathies were with Prussia is proved by 
the following letter : — 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 
" 18th July, 1870. 

" My dear Miss Matthews, 

" To-day is cloudy enough, but it is very close. 
I apologize for writing to you without my coat — 
but what is good manners in these days ? I heard 
last night that the Prince of Wales allowed a man to 
write out some rubbishing song for him, the man 
being coatless, and though the Princess came in, the 
fellow did not resume his costume. I shall turn 
Republican, especially in presence of this abominable 
war, got up by an Emperor for the most selfish reason. 
Don't you hope the Prussians will ' give it him hot ? ' 
..." Ever yours faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks. 
^' Miss Matthews." 



* That entitled " Six of one and half-a-dozen of the other." 
Au^st 6th. 

4ia 



ADMIRATION OF FRENCH PLUCK 

But that he admired the French people as distin- 
guished from their Emperor is as obvious from the 
following : — 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" ' Punch ' Office, 

" 85 Fleet Street, 
" August 24th, 1870. 

" My dear Professor, 

" I have 3 notes from you, and I am ashamed. 
It is not, you know, my way to neglect your letters, but 
somehow I thought I would let you alone till you 
should have settled down. 

" As regards P.B. make your jottings when you feel 
inclined. I will let you know in good time when to 
put the steam on. We want a very light number of the 
P.B. for this year, dialogue, fun, d — nonsense — but 
you understand. But give yourself a rest in the fresh 
air, as far as P.B. is concerned. I can't spare you from 
P.P., but short things, with a point, can be done 
staccato. 

" We had a noble dinner at the C. Palace, but the 
party was small. A four-horse omnibus, so we were 
out of the mob, which was some 28,000. We did not 
spoil our revel with business, but I go to meet Tenniel 
to-night at Kiki's, when we shall settle something. 
It would be Punch-like to recognize the pluck of the 
French, apart from the general question andL. N., and 
I think I see a way to do this, without departing from 
our line. 

" My folks have had enough of Beaumaris, so go 
over the way, literally ; that is to Penmanmaur. 
There I hope to be able to join them for a day or two, 
once or twice, but it is a good way. 

" You know as much about war news as I dOj so I 

419 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

leave the red smear out of this — only, I don't see proof 
that Bazaine has cut his way out of the iron net. 

" Kindest regards to Mrs. Frederick, to your brother, 
and to those of the young ladies who do the undersigned 
the honour to be friends of 

" Your friend, 

" S R 
'' P. Leigh, Esq." 

" August 9th. (Staying at Pluckley with Lady Thompson.) * 

" Found an epitaph in the churchyard : — 

" ' Death, with his overwhelming tide, 
Swept my loved partner from my side, 
And you of yours deprived may be 
As unexpectedly as me.' 

Wrote Emily and sent her this, as she likes * me ' 
in speech better than ' L' " 

" August lOth. 

" Lady T. with me to train, 9.57. Said I would 
return if I could, but feared I should not be able. 
Cannon St., 12.15. Fleet St. wild with newspaper 
boys and purchasers. The Parisian excitement very 
fierce. I must stay and write latest news." 

" August Vlth. 

" War news, about now, getting more and more 
important, but I have had to write it so often that I am 
tired — my articles will show how closely I followed it. 
This was a week of blood." 

" August 31s/. 

" Much trouble over cut, but we got one, the finish 
of the duel, which proved astoundingly lucky — for we 
had meant that the Emperor was compelled though 

* Wife of Sir Henry Thompson, Bart. 

420 



"THE DUEL DECIDED" 

wounded, to go on fighting, and in the interval he went 
down, and an alteration in the title made all right.*" 

" Sept. 2nd. 

" Sent one A. S., of whom I know nothing, but that 
she is a young artist, deserted by her husband, 10s., 
which, by the way, she has not acknowledged. It 
was a bit of tender-heartedness — perhaps she is ugly." 

" Sept. 8th. 

" Dined at Ellis WilUams's. P — sang song from 
the ' Gipsy's Warning.' I have not heard it for many 
a year — I gave it, in my green days, to a young lady 
on whom I was great spoons, and whose name I now 
recall only with an effort. She is well married — not to 
me. I think I used to write about her in a diary as 
Melanopia. * Vere ish dat dairy [sic] now ? ' In fact, 
where are many diaries of mine, kept rather fully ? " 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 
" Henley Bridge, 

" Tuesday, I3th Sept., 70. 

" My dear Miss Matthews, 

*' . . . I can't get away much at this crisis. If 

peace broke out, I should have a holiday. I am quite 

tired of describing the fall of the Empire. I have done 

it in 5 leading articles — two for the Home News, one 

of them the Australian (I think as shouldn't say it) 

not bad. 

* * * * 

" The cut of me was a treachery f — it was Reginald's 
joke, and I gave it Charles Keene, but he audaciously 

* " The Duel Decided." Macmahon was defeated at Sedan on 
September 1st, and the Emperor surrendered. Evidently Shirley's 
diary was " written up " a few days later. 

f Vide " In fornid Pauperis," Punch, Sept. 3rd, p. 102. Keene's 
likeness of Shirley is certainly only passable. 

421 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

contends that it was a very good likeness. The 
' Moke ' hnes were mine — written merely to fill up a 
hole, out of which I had taken something I did not 
care about — and they have had a great popularity. 
I think of having them printed on note-paper, as a 
standing ' answer to correspondents.'* These crea- 
tures trouble me much — after a good read at a batch 
of their rubbish, I feel demoralized. 

** Ever yours affectionately, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

" Oct. 8ih. 

" A. L came to tell me that one of our pirates, 
Punch and Judy, was collapsing, and to know whether 
Whitefriars would buy the title. I said I thought not, 
as there was nothing to prevent the vendors from 
bringing out ' Judy and Punch ' next week, and 
moreover that we always let such things rot to death 
their own way." 

" Oct. 9th. 

" E. told me I was an old man. Which it is true, 
in a way."f 

"Oct. nth. 

" I suggested the cut, * A Quarter of a Million ' — 
our contribution to the S. & W. fund. The Continent 
abuses us, let us take credit for what we really do."{ 

* " He who thinks he makes a joke 
Usually 's an awful moke." 
f S. B. was fifty-five. 

I England had subscribed ;^250,000 to the Sick and Wounded 
Fund. How her generosity was received in some quarters was 
strikingly illustrated in a letter written by Sir William Russell to 
the Times, in which he told of a German inspecting this " cut," and 
saying that he did not see anything generous in it at all. It was 
merely Britannia's conscience-money for the enormous percentage 

422 



THE PRINCESS ALL FOR-LORNE 

" Oct. I3ih. 

" Just now we are all talking about the intended 
marriage of Princess Louise to the Marquis of Lome. 
It is liked — people are tired of German matches and 
pensions, but the matches have all turned out well, 
and our P. R. may be Empress of Germany." 

" Oct. 16th. 

" Wrote for Punch. It is well I do this, for nobody 
helps me much with short paragraphs and gibes. 
I wish I could find somebody to be to S. B. what S. B. 
was to M. L." 

" Oct. llth. 

" Wrote Tom T. to do verses on the Princess's 
marriage, as he admires her. He did them well."* 
" Oct. 23rd. 

"A * vast ' of Punch letters, and exactly 150 with 
the joke about the Princess being ' All For-Lorne.' "f 

" Nov. 6th. 

" Waiting dinner, comes a telegram from Reginald 
that he will be home in an hour. ' Toby all right ' 
(this well thought of by the boy), and we surmised all 

she had made in selling arms to both combatants ! On reading this 
Shirley wrote with natural indignation : " It is about time to stop 
this said money, and think of our own poor, for we are promised a 
hard winter." 

* The verses were entitled " With a Loving Cup to Louise." 
Tenniel's accompanying cartoon (" A Real German Defeat ") 
represented the Marquis of Lome carrying off his Royal bride to 
the chagrin of a crowd of German princelings. Being Anti-German 
the cut proved very popular, for, since Sedan, English sympathy 
had veered round in favour of France. The cartoon had to be drawn 
in a hurry, and no photograph of the Marquis could be procured in 
time, " so," wrote Shirley, " Tenniel had to manage." 

f I well remember my father making this joke and thinking he was 
its sole inventor. — G. S. L. 

423 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

sorts of things, his mother that he had been hurt at 
football, I that there was ' something disagreeable at 
the College.' I was right — in about an hour came a 
telegram from Dr. Schmitz, to say that R. had been 
expelled for rebellion. We had really scarcely read it 
when R. arrived, pale and tired — he had spent his 
money on the telegram, and never thought of taking 
a cab. He soon explained the Rebellion. It was 
a mere ' barring-out,' caused by the expulsion of a boy 
for presenting or rather writing a memorial. I was 
sure that R. had done nothing very wrong, and thought 
what was done deserved punishment. Sudden expul- 
sion, on a Sunday, was arbitrary and unjust. Several 
others were sent off, some with long journeys. Unless 
all this is set right, I shall, as matter of duty, expose 
the affair, and work for the Doctor's removal. But 
resolved to sleep on it, and hear the Doctor himself. 
Hard work to get to sleep." 

" Nov. 1th. 

" Took notes of the whole history from Rego. The 
lads laid in provision for a siege, had patrols, etc. 
The war has turned all their heads." 

" Nov. 8lh. 

"... Then the Doctor went into the story. I 
pointed out the boyish absurdities, and alluded to 
Rego's good character. Dr. S. spoke of him most 
highly, and declared that he loved and was proud of 
him, and that had he expressed any penitence, he 
would not have been sent home. I assured him that 
Rego saw his absurdity, and was sorry, and the Doctor 
said that if he wrote a letter of apology he might return. 
. . . Nothing could be kindlier or more friendly than 
the Doctor to me, and he reiterated expression of his 
regard for Rego. I adverted to my letter to Dr. W. S., 
saying that it was written under excitement, and that 

424 



REGINALD IN TROUBLE 

some words should have been seen only by the receiver, 
and Dr. L. S. said he thought nothing of words, in the 
circumstances — he himself had been miserable and 
sleepless. So we parted more pleasantly than I had 
expected. Saw Cecil and gave him Is. To town with 
Torrens, and walked to Westminster Station, and so to 
Baker St. to make E. glad at my news. Now Rego's 
natural feeling is dislike to return unless others are 
pardoned. I believe all will be who make submission, 
but Rego has heard of new expulsions. These boys 
do not think how very needless it is to add to their 
parents' troubles. R. wrote a note of apology, and 
I posted it myself, to clench the nail." 

" Nov. 9th. 

** E. went off in the fog to Isleworth, wishing to 
smooth matters for R.'s reception. She thinks I have 
been ' stern ' in the affair, but I have not felt so, nor 
has R. had a hard word from me — we have laughed as 
usual — indeed, I may not have said enough. He and 
perhaps his mother will feel some day that a damaging 
thing was near, and has been escaped, but it is painful 
to be misinterpreted by those whom one loves better 
than all else. However, had some little explanation, 
and all is well. E. saw Core, the Doctor away. Core 
says no one else has been pardoned, yet. He expressed 
himself most kindly, and promised to make things as 
smooth as he could for R., but was strong for his instant 
return, and at night R. had an excellent letter from him 
— warning him against being made to think himself 
a hero. Good tact — this is the opposite to R.'s idea. 
Gave R. 10s., not so much as a tip as to make him feel 
we were on good terms." 

"Nov. \Uh. 

" Tenniel, who sat till 12, and advised an infusion of 
new art into Punch — we wanted a man who could draw 

425 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

well, and had a strong sense of humour. Where to find 
this double-headed Phoenix ? 

" Reginald returned to College to-day. I gave him 
a note to Mr. Core. So endeth what might have been 
an unpleasant business, but which, so far as he is 
concerned, is nothing but a school-boy ' lark,' and 
so to be regarded in the future. . . . 

" Wrote ' Macbeth' s Medical Man ' for Ledger's Era 
Almanac. I think I always say I won't do this again 
(though I don't know why, except that it is a bore), 
but it gets done, and will be, I suppose, again." 

" Nov. nth. 

" ' Pocket-Book.' The men have not done enough, 
and I must do the rest. Wrote what made lOJ pages, 
a good afternoon's work." 

" Nov. I5th. 

" Wrote Tenniel, as to ' P.B.' He was delighted with 
my work — but I may note how oddly the idea came 
to me. Some months ago, for a bit of mischief, I sent 
this to Hatton's paper — E. suggested it — I think we 
meant to have some fun with Frith : — 

" ' We hear that a new comedy, to be entitled (in 
rather Robertsonian fashion) " R.A." is to be produced 
at a West-End Theatre in London, and that '* Academy 
doings," illustrated in the adventures of a young artist, 
will be part of the entertainment.' 
But nothing came of it — we did not see the Friths much 
at the time. Yesterday I could not think of a subject 
for the ' P.B.,' and while walking about pondering, 
I strolled into Rego's room, and accidentally took up 
the old newspaper which was on his table. My eye 
caught the paragraph — and the trick was done. In 
a couple of hours I had finished what I am afraid 
will be the best thing in the ' P.B.' Tenniel roared 

426 



''DYING SWAN, PERHAPS" 

at it, and wished he had had it sooner, for a second 
illustration.* " 

" Nov. 23rd. 

"At 9.45 called on Dr. Garrod,t 11 Harley Street. 
Thank him for his kindness when Parry sent him up, 
without letting us know, and etiquette prevented his 
seeing me. I seem to like him. I consulted him on 
my general health, but especially as to epidermical 
trouble, and he enquired very closely into my history 
and case. Stethoscoped me, and said there was ' a loud 
murmur, a musical murmur.' The only music I ever 
made — dying swan, perhaps — but I hope to see my 
cygnets swim yet, D.V." 

" E. at lunch told me (or next day) * not to be 
offended.' ' Of course not.' She had been privately 
to Dr. Garrod, to know the real state of my case. He 
had assured her that I had, with proper care, many 
years before me. ' Offended,' dear old child ! We 
have had too much struggle, side by side, not to be 
shocked when there is even a hint of evil to the 
other/' 

" Nov. 2Qth. 

" I inserted the first of a series of Imitation Letters 
from Horace Walpole, which I ought to be able to do 
pretty well, and which are a new feature for Punch.'' 

" Nov. 29th. 

" Went across to the school of Mount Zion Chapel, 
Hill St., to give my first votes under the Education Act. 
I have 7, so gave one to W. H. Dixon, out of corrupt 

* " R.A. : A Sensation Drama of Real Life." " Punch Pocket- 
Book" for 1871, p. 143, ei seq. 
t [Sir] Alfred Garrod, M.D. 

427 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

friendship, and 6 to Miss Garrett, as a duty. . . . Both 

elected. 

Miss Garrett headed poll . . 47,858 
Huxley .. .. .. 13,494 

Dixon . . . . . . 9,031 

and 4 others, Thorold, Angus, Hutchins (Papist), 

Watson."* 

Miss Matthews had made him a pair of slippers. 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 
" 1th Nov., 1870. 

" ' How beautiful are " my " feet with shoes ' is the 
text from Solomon which you will set me quoting, my 
dear Miss Matthews, for many a morning and evening 
to come. Slippers, indeed ! they are much handsomer 
than those in which the casual-minded party in the 
* Pilgrim's Progress ' likes to see Religion walk abroad. 
I might hunt the slipper all over London, and not run 
down anything so charming. I feel like a he-Cinderella. 
I wish I could write you as pretty a poem of thanks as 
Cowper did to the lady who worked him a patch-quilt : — 
" ' And thanks to one above them all 
The gentle fair of Purtenhall, 
Who put the whole together.' 

But take my thanks in plain prose, and believe that 
I am a great deal too much pleased with your kind 
present to say pretty things about it. 

* For the first School Board of London under Forster's Education 
Act, W. Hepvvorth Dixon, later editor of the Athcnaum, whom 
Shirley had treated so roughly over the Shakespeare Memorial, was 
now on very friendly terms, and remained so till the end of 
Shirley's life. " Miss Garrett " is, of course, the well-known Dr. 
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. 

428 



''GOODY GRANVILLE" 

" To-day's Times ? But if, as I hope, you are a 
constant reader of another journal, not unknown at 
No. LV, Parhament Street,* you would not have 
(here's bad English) supposed the Germans were going 
to give up any of their advantages.! Goody Granville 
wrote pretty pretty, but ' Holy Willy's Prayer ' will 
be said in Notre Dame for all that. As to putting off 
the wedding — you had better suggest that to the bride. 
Because (though she is full of merits) I should say she 
might think that a bird in the hand is better than two 
which are very likely not in the bush. (If a lady put 
me off, merely because a few hundred thousands of men 
were stabbing and shooting and slashing one another, 
she would have to go and look in the bush, anyhow, for 
another bird.) Besides, her learned husband would 
tell her that Hymen was nephew to Mars, so that it is 
all a family business. May they be happy — were I 
proposing the health at breakfast I should hope that 
he would find in her, and she in him, ' greater riches 
than the treasures in Egypt,' which is not saying much, 
so far as I saw. You may give this hint to your papa, 
if you like, as I conclude he will have to make a speech. 

" Mr. HardmanJ will probably be made Mayor of 
Kingston on Wednesday — (so he will be ' mayoried ' 
too, as your friend Ernest would say), at least so says 
the Comet. He has been elected on the Council. 
I cannot imagine a greater bore, but I will console him 
with all the chaff I can think of. 

** Always yours faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

* Messrs. Grindlay & Co., the proprietors of Home News, which 
Shirley still edited. 

t Paris was now in a state of siege. 

I (Sir) WiUiam Hardman. .... 

429 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 
23rd Nov., 1870. 

" My dear Miss Matthews, 

" You will, I dare say, have received a Musical 
World, at least I wrote to the publisher to send it. The 
reason why you receive it you will discover by turning 
to a page on which you will see a wonderful poem by 
a friend of yours. Furthermore, you are respectfully 
requested to admire the same as much as you 
conveniently can, or to say you admire. 

" Nextly, in a day or two I hope that you will receive 
Mr. Punch's ' Pocket-Book,' which it has given me a 
deal of trouble to edit this year, but I think it is about 
as good as the average. For a wonderful drama called 
* R.A.,' and a thing called ' The Skeleton in the Mirror,' 
and a lovely poem about a Brighton Butterfly, you will 
have no difficulty in finding an author. I am now 
much ' exercised ' over the Almanac, but we have, 
I think, got some good notions for pictures. I have 
another literary idea, on which I shall like to have your 
judgment when you have seen a specimen — ' more 
anon.' 

" That was a most unconstitutional thunderstorm 
last night. This is November. There was a new moon, 
who heralded herself with all the row. I didn't think 
it ladylike, but everything is odd in these times. 

" You read the Times, I know. That is a curious 
leading article to-day, written at the Germans. See 
also Russell's letter.* They'll ' invite ' him to leave 
Head Quarters at Versailles, and forego the delightful 

* (Sir) W. H. Russell, the celebrated Times War Correspondent. 

430 



LOIRE RHYMES WITH DESTROYER 

view of the Crown Prince's — how shall I put it — 
inferior garments (whereof he hath said so much, enough 
to delight Poole) unless he ' mends his line and sins no 
more.' Mais, I do not give up a fixed idea very hastily, 
and I don't believe that the army of the Loire is going 
to do wonders. By the way^ did you ever know the 
poetry of the Rev. Henry Stebbing* — a pleasing parson ? 
It was not bad. Two lines cling in my mind — have 
clung for 25 years because of a rhyme — the poem was 
about Jeanne d'Arc — 

" And along the banks of Loire 
Rides no more the armed destroyer.' 

One can defend it, but one's rhymes, like one's good 
name, should need no defence. However, it has been 
held that tobacco rhymes to Long Acre. 

" I suppose you ask with some indignation why 
I write you a long note about nothing. Well, if it is a 
conundrum, I give it up, but I suppose the solution is 
because I never see you, to talk about nothing. 

" The Xmas picture in the Illustrated News] is pretty 
— a little, blue-eyed, fair-haired girl, with no stockings, 
lying on a bank and looking at a lady-bird on her hand. 
If the engravers and colourists do it justice, it ought 
to be a success. By the way, I was not to mention the 
subject, Evans knows why, but you are discretion. 

" Lastly, I am, as ever, 

" Yours most faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

" Dec. \sL 

" A foolish paragraph about me, and illness, in the 
London Figaro, a slop-pail journal of gossip." 

* First editor of the AthencBum. 
t To which he was writing some verses, 

431 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Dec. nth. 

" Work as usual, and looked over the way at my new 
room — carpet down — Fred asking me as to furniture. 
Cleared my papers from my den at 11,* and as I sup- 
posed I was taking leave of that house, I * dedicated ' 
a few thoughts of advantages which have come to me 
there, and I hope felt earnestly thankful for all. The 
old house has a history for me." 

" Dec. 24ih. 

" Into town, and took possession of my new room, 
No. 10 Bouverie St. B. & E. are anxious to make me 
comfortable, and I think the room will be so. Capital 
fire. W. H. B. installed me, and later my health was 
drunk at the usual gathering of the heads of depart- 
ments. Were I well, I would have made a little 
ceremony, but my foot demands rest." 

" Dec 3lst. 

" Bought a diary for the new year. May it contain 
few such sad records as this volume . D . in ' Shakespeare ' 
with Fred and Charles Dickens (jun.). Each of them 
had lost a father this year, and I one friend whom 
I loved almost as a father." f 

This he follows with a list of those " gone ad major es.'* 
" Feb. Mrs. Matthews, Wimpole St. 

James Helbling — heard of, he d. Xmas Eve, 

'69. 
George Hogarth, Dickens's father-in-law. 
Mrs. du Maurier, senior. 
John Murray's son, Arthur. 
March. William Brough. 

Mary Albert Smith. 

* Clement's Inn. 
f Mark Lemon. 

432 



" GONE ' AD MAJORES ' " 

April. Mrs. Burnand. 

Lord Tenterden. 

Daniel Maclise. 
May. Mark Lemon. 
June. Charles Dickens. 

Harry Weber, drowned, boys* schoolfellow. 

F. M. Evans. 

Basil Piffard (a relative on his mother's side). 
July. Mrs. Faed. 

Geo. Hodder. 
Sept. Kit Pemberton,* 

Cowper Coles, f 

Charley Synge. 
Nov. Adolf Ferrari. 
Dec. Lady Beaumont. 

F. Emanuel, boys' schoolfellow. 

Eleanor Beaumont. 

C. Hicks. 

And N.Y. Day, 1871, dear A. Munro." 

* Said to be the original of many of Ouida's heroes. 
I Designer of the Captain, in which ship he went down off 
Cape Finisterre. 



433 

29— (2397) 



CHAPTER XVIII 

1871 — Mrs. Lynn Linton's Contribution to Punch — Letters to 
Miss Matthews and W. Hepvvorth Dixon — The Germans Enter 
Paris — Mrs. Lemon's Pension — The Census — Private View of 
the Royal Academy — Letters to Percival Leigh — The Tichborne 
Case — A Large Evening Party at 6 Kent Terrace — George 
Biddell Airy — A Punch Dinner at 10 Bouverie Street — Walter 
Scott Centenary — Harrogate — Letters to Percival Leigh, W. H. 
Bradbury, du Maurier, Mrs. F. Romer, and Mrs. Hardman — 
Serious Illness of the Prince of Wales — " Bonibasies Furioso." 




ANY are the interesting per- 
sonages with whom we find 
ourselves rubbing shoulders 
in the 1871 diary, as in 
its predecessors. Here are 
some of those which are 
casually mentioned. More 
will appear in the longer 
excerpts : — 

The Lelands : [" Leland the American who writes 
the capital German-English poems ; Mrs. Leland very 
agreeable and almost pretty — very strong American 
accent "] ; Sir George Scharf ; E. M. Ward, R.A. : 
[" sends me a proof of the engraving of his ' Marie 
Antoinette Hearing her Sentence ' "] ; George 
Bentley ; Sketchley : [" very amusing if he would not 
make noises when he has no fun to emit "] ; Serjeant 

434 



PEOPLE OF IMPORTANCE 

Parry ; Ouida : [" had thought of going to Ouida's at 
the Langham, but did not feel i' the vein for vanity "] ; 
Sir G. Beaumont ; the Heather-Biggs ; Monsignor 
Capel : [" the ' Catesby ' of ' Lothair/ he is dehghtful, 
quite the Jesuit type, and full of information ; I like 
him "] ; Richard Garnett ; Solomon Hart ; the 
Jessels ; R. Lehmann ; Rignold ; Gustave Dore : 
[" sat with him an hour and smoked. He is a man of 
artistic genius, but I did not much admire him. I fancy 
that he is spoiled "] ; the Lankesters ; Frederick 
Greenwood ; Dr. Doran ; Lord Shaftesbury : [" had 
talk with him and was much pleased with the gentleness 
of his manner. I am very glad to have met so good 
a man "] ; John Holker ; Mrs. and Miss Bella Bateman : 
[" who has grown very handsome] " ; Pope : [" a big 
pleasant-faced barrister, who was so jolly through 
dinner that no one would have thought he was in 
torture with a boil "] ; G. H. Lewes ; George Eliot : 
[" they had quite a little levee , affectation of not 
talking about her works "] ; J. Toole : ["his imita- 
tions most excellent "] ; Dan. O'Connell : [" I like 
Dan and his wife "] ; Clement Scott : ['' writes to ask 
me to be on a Committee for showing some courtesy 
to the French actors "] ; the Jerrolds ; Sir Biddell 
Airy : [" proposed my health, an honour from him "]. 

Almost the first entry in the diary of this year is of 
peculiar interest to me, as the biographer of my dear 
friend, Mrs. Lynn Linton. Turning to the (I fear) 
long-lorgotten pages of her biography, I find that the 
article to which Shirley refers appeared on Jan. 7th, 
and was entitled " On being Taken Up and Put Down 
Again." It was signed '' A Dog who has had his 
Day," and was Mrs. Linton's first and last appearance 
in Punch. 

435 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Jan. 2nd. 

" Wrote Mrs. Linton with her article in next Punch. 
She is ill, but replied in ecstasy that I was a prince, 
and she hoped to add a laurel to my coronet." 

" Jan. 9th. 

" Heard to-day of two deaths, one of George Stacy, 
who has been the Punch printer for years, and who 
soon followed M. L. A loyal and valuable man. 
Wrote to his daughter, who informed me he died 
yesterday. And at night, reading the Pall Mall G., 
learned that, on New Year's Day, dear Alexander 
Munro had been released from his sufferings. I could 
not hope to see him again, after what I saw on June 
30th. As kind and good a man as I have known." 

" Jan. lOth. 

" Manby told us that at the last coronation, he was 
in attendance on Soult,* and, asking leave to go and 
see Mrs. M., Soult gave him leave, adding, ' You like 
your wife better than I do mine.' She had been a 
vivandiere or thereabouts, and talked accordingly." 

"Jan. Uih. 

" Old Paul Bedford d. 82. He belongs to other times. 
I said in the Era : — 

" ' His name has a significance for those who have 
ceased to be " easily moved to mirth." Labuntur anni.' 

" He, however, never moved me to mirth at all ; 
he was a mere buffoon, but in association with Wright, f 
a real artist, he gained a reputation for comicality. 
Last time I saw him was, I think, at Whitefriars (when 
B. & E. were printing his absurd book), and he told 
scandals of Webster and others." 

* Marshal Soult was ambassador to England in 1838. 
j Edward Richard Wright. 

436 



"HE PRAYS TO GOD— THAT IS MOST" 

" Jan. mh. 

" Walked to Bedford. Ptcnch d. W. B. away. Got 
out a ' Baptism of Fire ' cut, Paris. King of Prussia 
proclaimed Emperor of Germany — that is much, but 
in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, while Paris is locked 
up in his iron circle, and bombarded by his guns — that 
is more. And he prays to God — that is most." 

The following letters show that, busy as he was, the 
Editor of Punch could still concern himself about 
matters which a smaller man might have considered 
beneath his notice. 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

"Jan. I9th, 71. 

" My dear Miss Matthews, 

" A tender mission has been confided to me. 
* Cato's a proper person to entrust a love tale with ' — 
but there is also a rat's tale in it. 

" Cecil's chief pet, this last term and holiday, has 
been a white Rat with Red Eyes. It is harmless, if not 
affable. Eats oats, and a little bread and milk. 

" He has left it in my charge, and wishes me humbly 
to offer it to Ethel, who, if she does not pet it, will 
cause it to be treated kindly. I do not know whether 
your town arrangements include a menagerie, but at 
the College, of course, the creature could find a corner. 
I know he (I meant by ' he,' Cecil, but the pronoun 
suits the rat also) will be very much rejoiced if you 
allow Ethel to accept it, and I write to ask whether 
you can. Needless to say, please say * No,' sans 
phrase, if you think the beast is likely to be any sort 
of bore. He never squeaks, I believe. 

" Mrs. Brooks is just off with them, one for 

437 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Manchester, the other for Isleworth, and ' my house is 
left unto me desolate.' 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks. 

" P.S. — If you accept, I will leave him at your door 
on my way to town on Saturday. 
'' Miss Matthews." 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 
"20th Jan., 1871. 
(Saturn in Aphelion.) 

" My dear Miss Matthews, 

" Thank you in my own name and my chyild's 
(as they say on the stage) for letting Ethel adopt the 
rodent. I leave him, herewith, as I am going to dine 
at 35 in your street. 

" I am quite ashamed of his house, but Cecil made it 
himself, taking a Sunday afternoon for the purpose. 
I hope my neighbours' devotions were not disturbed, 
but as one is a lawyer and the other a successful 
tradesman, there is reason to hope for the worst. 
" Confidential. 

" My belief is that the rat can get out, through the 
loose wires, for which reason it is well to keep the 
* bit of a desk ' over them. But Cecil says that he 
never wants to come out. However, I give the caution. 
He used to be in Cecil's bedroom at night. If he be 
not similarly treated by Ethel, it may be well to tell 
the servants to keep the said flap on, or — 

" His food is oats, of which I send some, and every 
day some bread and milk mixed. He does not drink, 
I am told. I do. 

438 



CAPITULATION OF PARIS 

" I daresay that if Ethel puts on the coax-screw in 
the right quarter — I fancy uncle may be amenable 
thereto — she may get him a better abode if she takes 
to him. But this is an impertinent hint — only, I think 
he'll escape if no such measure is taken. I should have 
seen to this myself, but to-day I am not able to get into 
the right quarters, and do not like to delay delivering 
over my charge. 

" I'll only add that though he is, as I said, affable, 
he has a playful way of biting at a finger — I advise 
trying with a pencil or paper-knife, and you will see 
what I mean. 

" Reginald writes very cheerfully from Manchester — 
he says they have ice there, but he has a snug warm 
home. 

" Kindest regards to your papa and all, 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

'' Impransus, 
as Dr. Johnson signed, but I believe I am going to dine 
exceeding well." 

" Jan. 25ih. [Diary.] 

" Capitulation of Paris.'' 
" Such were the words that met my eye as I opened 
the Times in the drawing-room this morning. Jules 
Favre was stated to be yesterday at Versailles, nego- 
tiating, but asking inadmissible terms. Bismarck was 
also stated to have obtained from the Empress Eugenie, 
with L. Napoleon's leave, assent to the German de- 
mands. Neither Standard nor Telegraph had aught 
of this great news, though the latter wrote that the end 
was coming. I take it that the Times' s good services 
to Prussia have been rewarded, as in the Secret Treaty 
case, with early information. This is the most 
important news I have ever had to note, and I suppose 
will not be paralleled in my time." 

439 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Jan. 29th. 

" What is noted below is the most curious evidence 
of the reahty of the siege of Paris. The writer fixes 
on this Saturday, but the same sort of advertisements 
appeared long before, and after that day. French folk 
wdll keep them. 

" The first and second pages of the Times presented 
a curious spectacle on Saturday. They contained 
seven columns of advertisements — about 400 separate 
messages, addressed by French emigrants to their 
friends in Paris. Many of these were inscribed to 
Mr. Washburne, the United States Minister, who has 
been allowed to receive the Times during the siege, 
and who seems to have kindly undertaken to convey 
to persons shut up in the capital any information which 
reaches him from their families and friends abroad." 

S. B. TO William Hepworth Dixon. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 
"5th Feb., 1871. 

" My dear Hepworth, 

" Very many thanks for the books, which will 
comfort me for several evenings — just the reading 
(and just the print) for the hour of quiet and the 
groggeries, non sine fumo. When did we begin to 
correspond ? I am afraid to think. Angus Reach's 
burlesque cropping up again after so many years 
(I attended his rehearsals with him) made me feel that 
Methuselah was a brat. 

" I trust you voted for a chaplain for the Education 
Board — do you think I would have gone all that way 
(quite across our street) to give a vote for you, if I had 
thought you weren't pious, like King William ? I was 

440 



LONDON SCHOOL BOARD 

curious to see what Lord L.* would do — he is, I believe, 
out and out Calvinistical — but he has been saved the 
necessity cf proclaiming. By the way, in * Bartholo- 
mew Fair ' is such a good speech for a Calvinist (it's 
in the scene of ' humour '), ' Sir, he may neither laugh 
nor hope in this company.' I meant to put it in my 
imitation Walpole, but it's a httle too near the wind — 
if we use a text, even out of Job, we get a volley of 
excommunications . 

" A serious word. My wife gave me the saddest 
account of the health of your son when she last visited 
you. This is some time back, and we earnestly hope 
that all has materially altered for the better. It is 
hard enough (I tried last year) to be prostrated when 
life is a good deal behind you, but when it is nearly 
all before you, it is indeed distressing. Mrs. Brooks 
bids me say to Mrs. Dixon that we have had illness, 
and with that and the weather she has been almost 
shut up, or would have been over to your house long 
ago. 

" With our united and kindest regards to you both, 

" Ever yours sincerely, 

" Shirley Brooks. 

" Hepworth Dixon, Esq., L.S.5. (is that right ?) " 

" Feb. \st. 

"P. D. We knocked out a Peace cut.f Kiki very 
silent and looks ill, is sad about his eyes, poor dear 
fellow." t 

* Lord Lawrence, first Chairman of the London School Board. 

t This was a plea for peace for the sake of the starving women 
and children in Paris. The Treaty of Peace was not signed till 
May 18th. 

X And yet du Maurier heroically went on drawing to the delight 
of the world for a quarter-of-a-century longer. 

441 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Feb. 4th. 

" Burnand — he had a new piece at the Adelphi 
to-night — we and Fred had boxes, but it curned out 
that the managers, with their usual disccarteousness, 
had let all, after giving out cards to us. However, 
Burnand gave up his own box to us 4. Managers are 
beasts, some of 'em. Vestris never iet a given box. 
Heard that poor Robertson, the dramatist, died 
yesterday. The last years of his life have been easy, 
with money, a young and devoted wife, and rich friends, 
but I heard that in other days he suffered actual 
privation from poverty, and that his first wife's death 
was hastened by want. He may be forgiven for 
all bitterness and cynicism.* D. with Fred in 
'Shakespeare.' " 

" Feb. 6th. 

" Just now am re-reading De Foe's novels, 'Roxana' 
and ' Moll Flanders.' Call that old humbug a moralist ! 
He delights in * warmth.' I wonder whether the 
Dissenting folk who recently put up a monument to him 
ever read ' Roxana.' ' But then he preaches against 
the crimes he depicts so carefully.' To be sure, that 
makes a difference. ' A prayer to save the stamp,' 
by Swift, was much honester." 

" Feb. 9th. 

" The Session begins to-day, and the ' Essence * 
to-morrow. This work is a bore usually, but it is a 
feature in Punch, so a duty." 

" Feb. I3th. 

" Curious coincidence, of which spiritualists would 
make something. Passing the jeweller's on our Park 



* The successful author of " Caste " told Mr. Frith that he had 
often had nothing for dinner but his pipe ! 

442 



A COINCIDENCE 

Terrace, I stopped to look at some signet rings. They 
put into my head a ring Albert Smith gave me, with a 
' Punch ' on it. I had not seen it for ages, but I knew 
E. had it. While we were sitting in the twilight before 
dinner, E. said, ' I had a fancy, this afternoon, to turn 
out old jewellery and things, and I found the ring A. S. 
gave you — here it is.' Odder — she must have found 
it about the time I was thinking of it, 4 o'clock. 
Palgrave Simpson has an odd belief about such 
coincidences." 

" Feh. Uth. 

" The German triumphant entry into Paris is resolved 
on, as I dare say it has been from the first. Well, 
Napoleon entered Berlin in triumph in 1806 — it is a 
Return Call. If it had been omitted, the French 
(who are already returning to indecent plays and 
blasphemy) would say that the * barbarians ' had been 
awed away. I wonder whether any fanatic will try 
at assassination. The houses on the line are to be 
occupied, but a bold man might * do and die.' " 



S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 

"Dies Cinerum, 1871. [Feb. 22nd.) 

" My dear Miss Matthews, 

" If this were not Ash Wednesday, I should ask 
you whether the enclosed tickets for to-morrow were 
acceptable. If you do not care about using them, 
perhaps you can give them away. Do not trouble to 
return them. 

" If this were not Ash Wednesday, when every kind 

44v3 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

of penance is desirable, I would hope that your papa 
is rapidly recovering from the results of vaccination. 

"If this were not Ash Wednesday, when all amuse- 
ment should be forgotten, I should ask how you like 
the play of ' Revenge,' recently writ by a member of 
vour family. The late Coleridge has one with the same 
title, I think. 

" Resolved that you, for one, shall do penance, 
I write this with a steel pen, and I hope that you have 
not got a magnifying glass. That would be evading 
the penance, like the man that boiled the peas he was 
ordered to put into his shoes. 

" I went to the Zoological Gardens yesterday, and, 
seeing the old keeper near the Lions, I asked how they 
had got on through the winter. ' Thank you, Sir,' 
he said, as if he were speaking of his family, ' we did 
pretty well, but the bad weather was against us.' 

" The primitive Christians did not begin Lent until 
the first Sunday therein. Pope Felix III, 487, stuck 
on these four days, to bring the fasting days up to 40. 
Gregory the Great introduced the sprinkling of ashes — 
hence dies cinerum. Believe this if you like, anyhow 
believe me, 

" Yours ever faithfully, 

" Charles William Shirley Brooks 
" {Citizen and Goldsmith)." 

" Feb. 2eih. 

" Read *A Perfect Treasure,' a one vol. story, smartly 
written — somewhat in imitation of Wilkie Collins — 
but the absurdity is that a Hindu swallows a diamond, 
and keeps it in him — where ? — for years, so that his 
master is always anxious to have him with him, and 
a doctor gets at the stone after the man has been 
drowned." 

444 



"V^ VICTIS" 

" March 1st. 

" Much trouble over cut, as it was a big day and a 
big event, but we got at a ' Vcs VicHs / ' "* 

" March 3rd. 

" As I, to my shame, had not visited the collection 
of Old Masters, at Burlington House, E. and I took 
hansom and went thither. I have seen no such collec- 
tion, and I grieve that I have neglected to go sooner 
and often and study a little, for though I am no artist, 
many of the pictures are to me above art, if I may use 
the words. I mean that independently of their won- 
derful merit, which for the most part I take on trust, 
they impress me either by sheer power, or by their 
suggestiveness. I did not see half, I did not well see 

ten, but I came away with a brain full of sensations." 
* * * * 

" The German occupation was brief. I am glad 
that they went in, for the Parisians would have sworn, 
and written, that Paris was never taken, else. As it 
is, they will swear and write that the Germans were 
afraid to stay." 

* On this day thirty thousand of the victorious Germans had 
marched into Paris and occupied it for forty-eight hours. But, 
in the moment of triumph, Punch did not hesitate to remind the 
German Emperor, 

" How, sixty-five years since, there came 
A mightier Emperor than thou 
Upon Berhn to put the shame 

Which thy hand puts on Paris now." 

And to warn him that time might again have its revenges — 

" Who smite with sword with sword shall fall." 
* * * * 

God's mill grinds slow, but they grind small, 
And He that grinds gives all their due." 

445 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" March 4th. 

" Bought a hat, which is a thing to inscribe, for I 
have been wearing one of much seediness, for it was 
that on which Fred came down when we rapidly 
descended from the coach, just by Tunbridge on 
7th July, '69." 

"March 11//?. 

" All needful signatures to Mrs. M. Lemon's * Memo- 
rial * have been got, so to-day I wrote to Mr. Gladstone 
a letter to go in with it, in which I stated that Dickens 
had suggested it, and would have taken charge of it, but 
for his death. A short letter, ending with the remark 
that I should have felt that I had neglected a duty 
to the dead and to the living, if I had not made the 
above statement. The names of the signatories are 
good ones, and representative. I copy them : — 
John Everett Millais (R.A.) Houghton 
Wm. H. Smith (M.P.) Roundell Palmer (Sir) 

Anthony Trollope Thos. Milner Gibson 

Wm. Longman Wilkie Collins 

John Murray Tom Taylor 

W. P. Frith (R.A.) John Tenniel 

Derby Shirley Brooks 

S. Winton (Wilberforce) A. Tennyson 

One bishop, 2 lords, 1 ex-minister, 2 M.P.'s, 3 artists, 
1 poet, 4 authors, 2 publishers — 16."* 

" March I5th. 

" Wrote ' Polite Conversation,' modern, for Punch — 

a companion column to some excerpts from Swift. 
* * * * 

" ' Bedford.' Gave Mrs. Warner an old print of 
Dryden, to be put into the ' Dryden,' where we dine. We 

* As a result, a pension of £100 from the Civil List was granted 
to Mrs. Lemon. In addition to this a sum of ;f 1,500 was raised by 
the Proprietors and the Staff of Punch and other friends. 

446 



PRINCESS LOUISE 

elicited a good Marriage (P. Louise) cut.* Kiki away, 
but sent a most clever note about the Ascidians from 
whom Darwin deduces us." 

" E. had Mrs. Y. here, and they went to the Royalty, 
to see a piece, ' Behind a Mask,' by a so-called Bernard 
Dixon, who is Labouchere,' the besieged Resident.' " f 

" March 17 th. 

" Work as usual. Have I set down that Ptmch has 
been expelled by the Dover Christian Young Men, with 
their Mayor, Knocker, at their head ? One point 
of abuse was a cut which I myself invented for 
C. Keene. The papers have been so down on the 
idiots that little was left for me to say, but I have 
managed to say something."}: 

" March 20th. 

" The news from Paris. I hope that the Germans 

* " Over the Fence," representing the Princess being hfted by 
the present Duke of Argyll out of the enclosure which hedges Royal 
ladies from other than Royal lovers : — 

" Then boldly leap, Louise : and lusty Lome 
Show how a dear load may be lightly borne. 
Though weighted with a princely coronet — 
He that would win the rose must bear the thorn ! 
Envy's the winner's debt — 
Blithely this flow' ret set 
Beside thy eagle plume and wear it long." 

f " Diary of the Besieged Resident in Paris," pubHshed 
anonymously, by Mr. Henry Labouchere. 

X Vide " Dolts of Dover," Punch, March 25th, p. 126. The cause 
of offence was the illustration of an old lady imparting to a sympa- 
thising friend the fact that, although she permitted Jemima, the 
cook, to go to chapel three times a day, she discharged her duties 
none the better for it. This, argued one of the dolts, constituted 
a sneer at Religion ! 

447 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

will go back and stamp out the red disease.* But I 

won't write much about it here ; I shall have to do 

such acres elsewhere. 

* * * * 

" Emperor Napoleon landed at Dover ! When he 
came last I wrote words to a picture-book of Colnaghi's 
describing the state visits from 16th April, 1855, to 
21st. I was at the Opera to see them, on the 19th, in 
Arcedekne's box, and saw L. N. and the Empress, 
Queen and P. Albert. ' Where is dat Barty now ? ' "f 

" March 22nd. 

" A joke in Punch about the Eton boys having 
another week's holiday because the Q[ueen] has been 
vaccinated, in Times. It was sent me, and the paper 
is marked ' Winton House, Winchester.' I had a fancy 
this was episcopal, but that does not seem to be the 
name of the residence — I now fancy I was mistaken. 
Anyhow, the joke is good. Wrote two leaders. Mar- 
riage of Princess, and on France, for I.L.N., and most of 
Australian .^.A^. Made an ' epigram ' for Punch." 

" March 31s/. 

" Was in my room aloft when E. called up ' I've got 
something to show you.' Went down, and found her 
at her bedroom door, holding — as in old days — a baby ! 
A brown, black-haired sort of thing, a month old, the 
offspring of our milkwoman. How E. likes these 
things. I almost, but certainly not quite, wish she had 
one of her own. She has just come in as I am writing, 
but I have not read this to her." 

" April 1st. 

" At the Garrick, Mere wether, Q.C., told me I had 

♦ The insurrection in Paris. 

I Shirley was no lover of Louis Napoleon, and quoted with gusto 
from an otherwise foolish French pamphlet of the time, " C'etait un 
Sphinx qui n'avait pas d'enigme." 

448 



THE CENSUS (1871) 

just been re-elected on the Committee. This was an 
entire surprise, but he came to me again, saying that 
I made him doubt my identity, but that the name was 
that of the Right Honourable S. B. I had no idea of 
the matter — wait and hear." 

" April 2nd. 

" Filled up my Census paper — the united ages of the 
house (as given) 148 — 4 of us. I stick a copy at the 
end of this book. Shall I fill up another, I wonder ? 
If my health lasts, I hope so for the sake of one who is 
in this return, and two who are not."* 

The following is the copy referred to : — 

" The Census. 1871. 
*' My Return (6 Kent Terrace, Regent's Park). 
'' S. B. Head. Married. M. 55 (Editor of Punch, 

Middlesex, London. 
(Novehst.) 
"E. B. Wife. Married. F. 39. Editor's wife, 

Trinidad, British subject. 
** Betsy Alderman. Servant. U.M. F. 30. Cook. 

Lincolnshire, Crowland. 
" Emma Hawes. Servant. U.M. F. 24. Housemaid. 
Buckinghamshire, Woburn Chequers. 
(" So we were the 4 in 3,251,804.) " 

"April nth. 

" A friend of Tenniel's, a scholard and a gent., objects 
to the ' Polite Conversation ' in Punch, and to a 
picture in which a kiss is mentioned. J. T. must 
change his friend, unless the former wants donkey- 
riding. Wrote him a ' fudge ' letter, to show, if he 
likes. (N.B. — It turned out that the censor was not 
a donkey at all, except pro hdc vice, being the Rev. Mr. 
Dodgson, author of ' Alice's Adventures in Fairy — no, 

* His wife and his boys. 

449 

30— (2J97) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Wonderland,' a delightful book. But he is simple in 
this matter.) " 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

"April I4th, 1871. 

"... We went to see * Joan of Arc' I could only 
really see it, for I was deaf with a cold. It is splendidly 
got up, but I fancy the verdict is right, that T. Taylor 
has rather given scenes in Joan's life than a play ; 
moreover Mrs. Rousby is not robust enough for the 
fighting peasant girl. There is an idiotic outcry against 
the scene in which she is burned. It is real enough 
certainly, but I see no objection to the business in a 
drama of the kind, though I hate that class of drama. 
Shall we never have poetry in tragedy or wit in comedy 
again ? 

" I dined in Curzon Street last night and met among 
others the Editor of Notes and Queries ; he had some 
good stories, so had others, but they are too long to 
tell in ink. He is an official in the House of Lords. 
The present Lord Abinger was making a speech, of 
course a foolish one, when the late Duke of Wellington, 
then utterly deaf, put up his hand to his mouth, and as 
he thought whispered to his neighbour, ' Clear that 
Talent is not Hereditary ! ' — only the whisper might 
have been heard at Brighton — and Abinger ' shut up.' 
Charles Kemble whispered to me in the same way once 
at the Club, ' I don't want to hurt those gentlemen's 
feelings, but between you and me I should like to see 
their friend flogged at the cart's tail.' " 

" April nth. 

" After d., E. and Rego went to the opera, his first 
visit to it. I tied his cravat, and lent him my dress coat 
as he does not yet ' come tails.' Opera, * Faust,' 
Covent Garden, a very good work for a first impression. 

450 



MRS. LYNN LINTON 

My first opera was at Drury Lane, the * Gazza Ladra,'* 
with Grisi, Lablache, Tamburini, and, I think, Ivanoff." 

" April 23rd. 

** A sort of ' Out,' i.e., we fulfilled our promise to go 
and see Mrs. Linton, at Loughton. It was a business, 
owing to the complication of railways, otherwise it was 
very pleasant. Cab to Chalk Farm — rail to Victoria 
Park, by Highbury, Barnsbury, and my other youthful 
localities. At the Park a great scramble over bridges, 
and all the Jews in the world at the platform. Then 
I think Shalford, anyhow another change, but finally 
made Loughton, where Mrs. L. waited us. Waggonette 
and a long drive through Epping Forest, where I believe 
I was taken about 45 years ago, from the ' Old House.' 
To Mrs. L.'s, she lodging in a farmhouse, very clean. 
Dined at 6, there coming Mrs. Allen, wife of the sec. to 
the Trinity House, a charming person. Ramble with 
Cecil while I smoked : thought we heard the nightin- 
gale. Had to leave at 8 — and then to station, change 
at Shalford, and at Dalston, and at V. Park, but reached 
Chalk Farm at last, and had cab home. But these are 
details — the visit was a very agreeable one, and she 
was so glad to see us that we were quite repaid the 
trouble. Only I shouldn't live at Loughton, if I wanted 
to come to town much." 

" April 25th. 

" Had official information that I had once more been 
elected on the Committee of the ' Garrick.' " 

" April 26th. 

" Corrected * N. in P.' and went to the Royal 

Academy. They give the Press a day, before the 

so-called private view. It was not a cheerful scene — 

♦ " La Gazza Ladra," by Rossini. 

451 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

cloths on floors and seats, workmen about, and some 
8 men wandering in the dozen saloons. Saw Sala, 
T. Taylor, and Charles Landseer. Saw all the pictures 
worth seeing. It is not a good Exhibition. A fine 
landscape of Millais' is about the most noticeable 
work.* A deal of foreign art. In the chief sculpture 
gallery. No. 1205, right-hand of a door (as you go to it) 
is Mark Lemon, in marble, the result of the work done 
at Crawley on 24th May last. It is a likeness, but 
without any refinement, as I expected it would be. 
Still, it is well that it should be done." 

Mrs. Frank Romer had written to tell him that her 
pictures had been accepted at the Royal Academy. 

S. B. TO Mrs. F. Romer (Mrs. Jopling Rowe). 

"April, 1871. 

" My dear Mrs. Frank, 

" There is no need to tell you that your note, just 
received, has given me the utmost pleasure ; it ought 
not to have given me any surprise, because I have 
always had firm conviction that you would make your 
way to the front, but I own to an agreeable surprise 
that you have done this so soon, as there are so many 
people who rejoice to hinder an aspirant. Accept my 
best congratulations. 

" This day week I trust to see the pictures for 
myself, meantime, 

" Believe me, 

** Very affectionately yours, 

" Shirley Brooks. 

•• Mrs. F. Romer. 

* " Chill October." 

452 



ROYAL ACADEMY 

" P.S. — This note is short, but there is only the choice 
between making it so, or not writing till to-morrow, for 
it's my Indian, AustraHan, and Punch day, and friends 
are waiting for * Copy,' the hungrier that the printing 
office (not Punch's) was burned down on Saturday, so 
all things are at sixes and sevens, and whatever that 
means, it means scramble." 

Five days later he writes again, the important part 
of the letter being in the postscript :— 

" My dear Mrs. Frank, 

" Merely a hne to say that I have just come from 
the Academy, and I congratulate you heartily on your 
successes, and on the good places which two out of the 
three hold. You may be proud of what you have 
done, yet I hope that many future triumphs will efface 
nearly all recollections of these. I am proud of my 
sponsorship, as you are good enough to call it. 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks. 
" P.S. — / saw two or three critics'' 

" Friday, April 28ih. 

" Private view of the Academy. We, Emily and I, 
got there just before 4. Having seen the pictures, 
I could show her the ones worth looking at. Of course, 
we met heaps of people, and after dinner we amused 
ourselves by making a list. It may have an interest 
some day, argal, I will transcribe it. 





" Academy 


Acquaintance. 


Horsley 




Brooks, my possible 


Friths 




relative 


T. Taylor 




Elmore 


Hills 




Hep. Dixon 
453 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 



Fenders 

O'Neil 

Amy Phillip 

V. Prinsep 

P. Simpson 

Planche 

Gye 

Webster (R.A.) 

Lehmann 

G. Phillips 

John Gilbert 

Calderons 

Ben Webster, showed him 

M. L.'s bust, which he 

Hked 
Durham 

Mrs. E. Coleman 
Tredcroft 
Mrs. C. Matthews 
Rouget 



Mrs. Arthur Lewis 

Herbert (R.A.) saw 

John Parr}^ 

Hon. Mrs. Norton, E. saw 

Marks 

Ward, E. M.'s 

Thompson and Lady T. 

Fergusson, Misses 

W. Agnew 

T. and Mrs. Agnew 

Trollope 

Alma Tadema, saw, with his 

fiancee 
Lord Russell, saw 
Misses Skellett 
Sir W. Boxall 
Jenny Lind, E. saw 
Saunders (?) 
Mrs. Poynter, saw 



" April 29th. (In red ink.) 

** My birthday. I have much to be thankful for, 
and I trust that I am so. Heard from Rego, who had 
remembered the day, and sent me a clever imitation 
of the first Ode of Horace. For one who can do this, 
and who thinks to do it, I need have no great fear, 
whether I live to help him, or do not. D.G. 

(In black ink. ) 

" Talk with my wife. She says we have no troubles, 
except an occasional touch of our own tempers, and 
everything to be glad of, especially two good boys. 
Agreeing, so to bed. Have not spent a pleasanter 
birthday, in a quiet, worky, unexcited way, for many 
a year. D.G'' 

454 



A POINTLESS "PAR." 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 

"Sunday {May 7th, 71). 

" My dear Professor, 

*' 'Tis thought that you are an Obscurantist, and 
a Buddhist, and an Oystergoth, and several other bad 
things, but in composition you are usually as kind as 
your ruffianly Idol, Billy Gridiron. I thank heaven 
I am as stupid as any man who is no stupider than 
myself, but you have puzzled me. Will you explain 
to me the point of this ' par.' ? I inserted it, not 
seeing, but sure I should see at night : did not, but was 
sure I should see in the morning : do not, and so I go 
to the fons et origo. I am going out a good deal, and 
I shaU certainly be asked. 

" * Diplomatic Revelation. 

" * A telegram from Berlin, announcing the reception 
there of Count Schouvaloff by Emperor William, says : 

*' According to trustworthy information, the Count 
has repeatedly expressed himself highly satisfied with 
the result of his mission to England on the subject of 
Central Asia." 

" ' So far, then, we have no reason to conclude that 
he considers his mission to have resulted in a dead 
failure.' * 

" No, I don't see. 

" Ever yours, 

"S. B. 

* Apparently no point was discovered, for the " par." did not 
appear. 

455 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" P.S.— Claimant and Skipjack, or Skipwith, to be 
had up on Wednesday."* 

A little later Shirley was visiting the Dickenses at 
Gadshill, leaving Leigh as his locum tenens. 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" Gadshill Place, 

" HiGHAM BY Rochester, 

" Kent. 
" Friday. 

" My dear Leigh, 

" I send Brightmore the ' Essence ' by this post. 
It is beautifully written, and there ought to be no 
mistakes, only, if Sambourne's initials be not M. 
(it seldom is) please alter the beginning of the ' Essence.' 
" I dare say B. will not be able to send proofs by 
post, but if not, let him send them by the North Kent 
Railway to Higham, by an early train, and also let 
proofs be sent to my house, as I shall be up on Sunday 
evening. 

" Lovely weather, and yesterday we saw the grand 
siege operations described in to-day's paper. 

" Ever yours, 

"S. B. 

" [P.S.] — Is damnari, damnato, good Latin ? I can't 
think out of town. Look to the very little bits, please, 
and if you see any very stupid ones write good ones 
instead, especially at the finish of the number. Nothing 
about the Tichborne case, please." 

♦ The Tichborne (Civil) Case should have begun on the Wednes- 
day, but there was no jury. It began on the Thursday (May 11th) 
and ended on March 2nd, 1872. Thereupon the claimant was 
lodged in Newgate to be tried for perjury. 

456 



THE "WAGGAWOCK" 

On the subject of " the Claimant " Mrs. Panton 
writes to me : — 

" If you wanted to get a rise out of S. B. you had 
merely to mention the ' Claimant.' Then his trial was 
on, and we spent the 22nd at it ; we had tenants at 
Poole and Swanage who swore the Claimant was 
Tichborne, but I heard him describe his house near 
Poole all wrong, and I remember delighting S. B. by 
telling him this by letter. He wrote after the verdict 
the parody on the Jabberwock in Punch. He used to 
' snort/ literally ' snort/ when anything enraged him, 
and many a ' snort ' did the Tichborne case cause him. 
He was rabid against him." 

The parody was entitled " Waggawocky," and 
concluded : — 

" And hast thou slain the Waggawock ? 
Come to my arms, thou Beamish Boy ! 
O Coleridge, J. !* Hoorah, hooray ! 
Punch chortled in his Joy." 

" May \st. 

" * At opening of Crystal Palace ' (meaning, of course, 
Great Exhibition) says my diary for this day 20 years. 
At opening of International Exhibition,! I write 
to-day, having just returned. Went in carriage with 
Torie and Jessie, but we parted near the doors, and E. 
and I having white tickets (I might have joined in the 
procession, but didn't wish, and had no court dress or 
uniform), got into the Conservatory, and, standing 
on chairs during the ceremony, saw very well, and 
heard the Prince of Wales declare the place ' open.' 



* 



Sir John Coleridge, the Attorney-General, whose speech had 
lasted twenty-six days ! The proceedings cost the Tichborne 
estate ;^92,000 ! 

j At South Kensington. 

457 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Then in an awful mob of swelldom, under the hot rays 
through the glass, and in a dead lock with Delpierre 
and a lot of other glittering diplomatists, some Oriental. 
Very badly managed by officialism. Then into the 
body of the Conservatory, and sat with E. Levy* 
and his wife. At last we got away, not waiting for the 
concert, cab, and home by 2. I went simply and solely 
to please Emily, or I should not have been there. 
I hate crowds and ceremonials. However, 'tis done." 

" May Ath. 

"Work as usual. f Counted for E. the contents 
of a box in which she has been hoarding silver three- 
pences and fourpences, in order to buy Rego a new 
watch. £3 10s. 6d., a good advance, but I will make 
it up to what is wanted, if she have not saved it by his 
b.-d." 

" A new kitten, from Amy Evans, black, and 
supposed to be likely to be curly or fluffy. (This grew, 
and we got fond of it, but it d. June 7th, and we don't 
know why. Hawes, the housemaid, wished it could be 
' analyzed.') " 

" May 5th. 

" Usual, and a great deal for Punch. These days, 
which are described in 7 words, mean several hours of 
close writing, de omnibus rebus et, etc. They are the 
bread-winners. Mem. This week, I let some verses 
appear for the second time in Punch. Was inclined 
to blame Ancutt, but on enquiry found the MS. had 

* Lord Burnham. 

t Amongst it " Morals at the Academy," to which he signs himself 
" Winkelmann Fuseli Dobbs," a method of treating the pictures 
which might well be repeated for the amusement of a later 
generation. 

458 




By kind permission of the /Proprietors of " I'ltiicli ' 
SHIRLEY BKOOKS 
From " Once a Week " 



THE " FRENCH MONKEYS " & THE VENDOME 

gone in twice. I remembered them^ of course, but 
supposed I had let them stand over. The accident 
had one good result, it established relations between 
me and a ' reader ' in the office, Pincott, who wrote 
to ask that he might send me note of anything that 
occurred to him, as he had done for 16 years with M. L. 
Wrote him a proper note, and got 3 suggestions on the 
next Sunday. He may save some literal and other 
errors. Punch is a difficult paper to revise, as there is 
a change of attitude of thought with each article." 

" May eih. 

" W. H. B. showed me the Banquet Hall, which 
proceeds slowly with its decorations."* 

" May 8th. 

" Very hot, in fact oppressively close, so that one 
rejoiced to see the clouds gather blackly. About 3.30 
down came as heavy rain as I have seen. Thunder and 
lightning. Wondered whether in Paris, instead of 
* heaven's flashes ' they were seeing ' man's,' for it was 
said that Bismarck had told Thiers that if he did not 
go in to-day, the Germans would. But wolf has been 
cried often. To-day the Vendome column was to 
fall." 

The column stood, as a matter of fact, till the 16th, 
when Shirley wrote : — 

" The French monkeys pulled down the Vendome 
column to-day about 5.30 p.m.," 

and inserted the Daily News telegram : — 

" Suddenly there arose the cry of ' It falls ! * and 
slowly the huge column bowed towards the Rue de la 
Paix. As it fell it broke into several pieces in the air, 

* For description of the Punch dining-room vide Mr. M. H. 
Spielmann's " History of Punch," p. 60. 

459 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

falling in about four portions, on the bed of sand and 
dung. A loud, dull report followed, and clouds of dust 
arose. 

" The crowds instantly dashed forward to pick up 
relics, crying ' Vive la Commune / ' " 

"May lUh. 

" Noises below, enter a new piano — borrowed. 
Curiously, F. Smith, builder, called, just as we have 
pulled down the doors of his conservatory. Having 
writ up to 5, I descend to surrender myself to the revel. 
Began by dining off roast beef with E. in the study. 
Cigars on the drawing-room sofa, in Cecil's carpenter's 
room. Coffee. Dress, and we were on duty by 9. 
At half-past 9 came Mrs. Sothern. Then they soon 
came pouring in, and by 11 we had 90 visitors. H all 
had come there would have been 47 more. No dis- 
appointments of much consequence, except Lady 
Thompson, Sala, and Wilkie Collins, all of whom, 
specially ' Kate,' I should have liked to see. Mrs. 
Cresswick Jackson led off with a song. Sir Julius 
Benedict played to Miss Philp, Cusins played beau- 
tifully. Du Maurier sang, so did Miss Fergusson. 
Brinley Richards played. Some good music, argal. 
Croker gave his capital imitations. Everybody talked 
loud and laughingly — I believe people enjoyed them- 
selves. Rather a scramble at supper, which was a 
capital one, E. had done her best, and I made the 
champagne go. I took down Mrs. Rousby, who looked 
lovely — she was the star, in that respect. Soon after 
12 some went, but not many. I got some supper, at 
last, taking down Mrs. Jones, Burnand's pretty sister- 
in-law. The last to hnger were the Nelsons, Jerrolds, 
and Burnand. All gone by about 2.30. Cigars on 
E.'s sofa, in her room, while she undressed. Put out 
my light 3.20. The largest party we have had, and 

460 



MONSIGNOR CAPEL 

a very good one. ' An excellent piece of work, Madam 
wife, and I am awfully glad it is done,' to adapt the 
excellent Mr. Christopher Sly." 

" May I3th. 

" Punch. Cold day, east wind, Leigh wished me a 
merry Xmas — had a fire. How right Cowper was 
about May. Papers to Rego. Got through work by 
5.30, dressed, and to Willis's rooms. Newspaper Press 
Dinner. Saw lots of people I knew — Boys, Lord 
Houghton, Thoms, James Matthews, Heather Bigg, 
Wigan, B. Jerrold, and many more. Excellently placed, 
as regarded neighbours, at end of table, on chairman's 
right 

Arthur Helps 
BeresfordHope. R. J.Phillimore. S.B, Monsnr. Capel. 

This was capital, I wanted to know Capel, the 
' Catesby ' of ' Lothair.' He is delightful — quite the 
Jesuit type — and full of information, and I won't say* 
ostentatious effort to be exactly just in his descriptions 
of folk. Anecdotes, but not new — but are new 
anecdotes possible ? I take it that it is his business 
to become intimate with people. I like him. Said he 
thought it unwise in Doyle to leave P.f Much music, 
and several things played and sung in a batch, but 
between speeches, don't see the sense of this. All the 
ladies close to us. For the most part not radiant 
angels. I spoke about 10, and was short, but I believe 

* It is curious to find Shirley, in this case apparently by a slip of 
the pen, saying, and refusing to say, in the same breath. Cf. the 
deliberate use of the same rhetorical figure in the Man in the Moon 
quoted on p, 54. 

f " Dicky " Doyle was a devout Catholic and resented Punch's 
hostile attitude towards the Papacy. The crisis came when Jerrold 
advised the Pope^to " feed his flock on the wafer of the Vatican." 
This happened in 1850. 

461 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

I did well enough. Made myself heard. Left as soon 
as I well could." 

" May I8th. 

" I read Goldsmith, variously. What did Dr. 
Johnson cancel, when he finished the ' Traveller ' for 
him ? Forgot if I ever knew, that the last four lines 
of the ' Deserted Village ' are Johnson's. They are 
lofty, but they were not wanted, Goldsmith's finish was 
in better keeping with the poem."* 

" May I9ih. 

" My nonsense * Prophecy,' f as heretofore, and not, 
I trust, less absurd than when I invented the feature. 
* * * * 

" Prince Arthur fell out of window, Buckingham 
Palace." 

" May 21s/. 

" Went into the ' Ornamental ' — a warm, fine after- 
noon — had a cigar, read Plato's ' Republic,' under a 
tree, and felt that I had much to be thankful for. Wish 
I could get rid of a pain in my left side, which I am told 
is of a mechanical sort, arising from too much fat, or 
else is wind. It often goes away for a long time. 
Plato very good about old age, which frees you from 
several * furious masters,' but he might add that it 
subjects you to some sulky ones." 

* To " The Traveller " Johnson furnished line 420, 
" To stop too fearful, and too faint to go," 
together with the last ten lines, except the last couplet but one. 
This couplet contains Goldsmith's mistake about " Luke's iron 
crown." As a matter of fact it was not Luke Zeck, but George, his 
brother, who was punished by his head being encircled with a red-hot 
iron crown. 

f " Punch's Derby Prophecy," which was now an annual feature 
of the paper. 

462 



THE MISCREANTS OF THE COMMUNE 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 

" Rogation Sunday. 
" {Ergo, rogo.) 

" My dear Leigh, 

" Does it occur to you to write a few lines on the 
fact that * The Astronomer Royal is made a C.B.' ? * 

" He is a good fellow, and 'tis fit that if a C.B. be an 
honour, such should have it. 

" Fault of better, the above line * The Astronomer," 
etc., would make a sort of burden to the verse, but of 
course I only mention this to save you trouble. 

" I delivered my oration, and sat next Monsignor 
Capel, who is delightful, but fear not thou for my 
religion." 

" May 24th. 

" While England was at the horse race (the Derby) 
Paris was in flames. The miscreants of the Commune 
fired the Tuileries, the Louvre and various other public 
buildings. We heard of this at night, and hoped the 
story was exaggerated. But next morning brought 
the confirmation. It is horrible. I have had no such 
sensation since the war began." 

" May 25th. 

" Papers full of the infernal news from Paris. I can't 
write about it here. So much for equality and atheism." 

" May 29th. 

" Brutal and horrible news from Paris, the Arch- 
bishop and numbers of other ' hostages ' have been 

* The result was the very poor " Airy, C. B.," Punch, May 27th, 
in which Leigh did use the proposed line, and perhaps found it a 
burden to himself as well as to the verses. 

463 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

murdered, and on the other hand the soldiers, and the 
still more savage because lately cowardly ' party of 
order/ are slaughtering wholesale.* Women and 
children murder and fire houses, and are killed. Lord 
Stanhope says Carlyle has pen in hand on the state of 
things — it is far worse than anything in his noble book 
on the Revolution. . . . 

" Holiday at Stamp Offices, and elsewhere, the first 
under the new Act called the * Bank Hohdays Act,' 
which tells people not to do on Easter Monday, Whit- 
Monday, the 1st Monday in August, and the day after 
Xmas Day, anything they are not obliged to do on 
Good Friday or Xmas Day. Sir John Lubbock f 
haec otia fecit'' 

" May 31 St. 

" I suggested the idea of the cut, a British Fire- 
Engine, to which T. T. suggested the addition of a 
French one, and after a very long discussion, as 
Jackides did not ' see ' it, this was agreed on."}: 

" June 2nd. 

" Read that A. Arcedekn6§ had d., only 49, but he 
had ' lived.' What a time I have known him. When 
I first knew him he had a small income, and was living 
very merrily with a Miss Carey, and their life was a 

♦ On the evening of the 24th the Archbishop, Abb6 Deguerry, 
President Bonjean, and sixty-four other hostages, were executed 
in the prison of La Roquette. 

j Lord Avebury. 

I The result was a double cut entitled " The Two Fire-Engines. " 
The first represented French cannon " to be avoided by England ; " 
the second an English fire-engine pumping out a stream of common 
sense "to be borrowed by France." 

§ The prototype of Foker in " Pendennis." He married an 
actress named Elsworthy. 

464 



"THE SAME IS ON THE GATE OF HELL" 

laugh. I don't think he was happier afterwards, and 
then he got into a hole through putting his name to 
other folks' bills. Of late, I believe, he was very quiet, 
with a wife of an odd sort. I believe he was a kindly 
little man, in his way. The last time I saw him was, 
I think, on Brighton New Pier, October 10th. He 
had sent me pheasants during my illness, and I remem- 
ber another kindness : he gave me a seat in his opera 
box when the Emperor and Empress came to Covent 
Garden, and I had an excellent view of them. R.I. P." 

On the same date he wrote to Miss Matthews : — 

" Percival Leigh told me a good story last night ; 
he stated that the inscription which Dante saw over 
a certain gate ' Lasciate ogni Speranza,' etc., had been 
taken down and ' Ici on parle Frangais ' put up. 

" P.S. — The ' Lasciate ogni Speranza^ etc., reminds 
me of another story in which we Protestants didn't 
get the best of it. In old days some Irish bigot wrote 
up over the gate of his almshouses — 

" ' Here, Jew, or Turk, or Athens/, 
May enter in, but no Papz's^.' 

" To which a Catholic rejoined — 

" ' Who wrote this verse has written well, 
The same is on the gate of — .' " 

" June 3rd. 

" W. H. B. said that he had heard general expression 
of opinion that Punch had greatly improved. Fred 
present at this. I know I have excluded much dulness, 
but I have not got it up to the point of sparkle I want. 
O for a man to do everything, as I may conscientiously 
say I did, for years, for M. L." 

" June Aih. 

" Looked through an odd book from Blackwood, 

465 

31— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

the ' Coming Race '* — an attempt to describe an 
improved set of beings, but most of the book dull, and 
no real novelty, after Swift and the Peter Wilkins| 
creatures." 

" June 6th. 

" E. asked me, in writing my memories, not to put 
in sundry things which make us laugh, but are best 
forgotten — a kindly thought." 

" June \Oth. 

" Came by appointment, Arthur Hamilton, Station- 
ers' Hall Court, to offer me the ' London Letter ' which 
E. Yates has foolishly flung up. Good terms, 5 guineas 
a week. I should have liked it some time ago — now, 
of course, my position forbids my signing a column of 
gossip, and they want the name. Recommended Sala. 
* * * * 

" Rego sends his College papers, the exam, awfully 
stiff, and it does him the highest honour to have 
answered so many questions, some of a most searching 
kind. He marked those he replied to. God bless him, 
and make him a happiness to himself and to his mother, 
whether I live or go ! But I hope to be spared to help 
him and Cecil on." 

" June 10//?. 

" Talk about the new Punch Banquet Hall, in which 
it is proposed to dine on Tuesday, which was to have 
been Wednesday, but I had the day altered, because of 
Frith's dinner. Kiki has done an invitation card, 
with our portraits ; I am perched on Mr. Punch's head, 
and have the ' knife ' which I used to throw down as 
signal that to my mind we had a good cut." 



* Published anonymously this year by Lord Lytton. 

I " Life and Adventures of Peter Wilkins," by Robert Paltock. 

466 



THE NEW BANQUETING HALL 

" June 13ih. 

" This was the day of our first dining in the hand- 
some room that has been fitted up at No. 10 Bouverie 
Street. The dinner was to have been Wednesday, and 
is so mentioned on ' Kiki's Kard/ but I asked Tuesday, 
being engaged Wednesday. Went down early. The 
men met in my room. All attended, except H. Mayhew, 
who was ill, so to him we sent a picture of himself in bed, 
nursed by Kiki, as an old woman, Kiki's drawing, and 
we signed it. A special sort of repast, with turtle, 
from Ring (Birch's). All excellent. Party very 
friendly and merry. Tichborne case the chief topic, 
and questions of memory, some contending that a man 
could forget all his child-life, friends, teachers, books, 
homes. I do not think many men can make such 
tahulce rasce of their minds. We drank to ' dear old 
Punch,' by W. H. B. No * speakings.' Three cuts 
were suggested, Leigh one about ' John Bull and the 
Army Purchase Money ; ' Taylor one, ' The Cabinet Cart 
struggling up hill, with loss of baggage ; ' Brooks one, 
' Gladstone as a Pioneer, cutting into an enchanted 
wood of mihtary vested interests.'* This was adopted, 
and T. T. gave J. T. the words. Sambourne d. with us, 
first time, but as a guest on this special occasion only, 
at present. I proposed the ' Five Partners.' Going 
away, I said I hoped we should have many hundreds 
of jolly dinners there, and the answer was ' Hooray.' 
There ! So much for a meeting that has been in view 
for many a day, and it was very successful." 

" June \Qth. 

" Actually, contributions from Ponny for Punch ! 
They must be set up before I have an opinion, I 

• * " The British Pioneers," representing Gladstone and Cardwell 
hewing down Army abuses in face of the opposing " Colonels." 

467 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

can't read his spiders, now more wriggling than 
ever."* 

" J tine 17//?. 

" L. Romer has got £100 for her picture of the 
' Betrothal/ from Waring. Come, my protegee pros- 
pers. She calls herself so, though I have not done so 
much. Yet I have served her." 

" June 20th. 

" Tichborne case still on, and to-day came to this 
point. Sir John Coleridge asked the claimant, ' Are 
you Arthur Orion ? ' Seems that Ballantine told his 
client, the claimant, that it would be either success, or 
penal servitude. Sir A. Cockburnf wishes he were 
counsel in it — he ' could have doubled the fellow up 
much quicker.' " 

" July 9th. 

" Discussed * my health,' as Burnand says, and 
nearly arrived at the conclusion that I ought to make 
a complete holiday, at some foreign * Bad ' at any price, 
and Carlsbad, if Erasmus Wilson approves. I feel that 
this would be a wise course, and it might give me many 
years of health to work for * my three.' " 

" July I8th. 

" Cancelled a leaf in an old diary, because I had 
expressed myself intemperately, and from temper. 
Had it been a sincere entry, it should have stayed, 
with a comment." 

" July 26th. 

" W. B. told me that every one mentioned to him 
the great and marked improvement in Punch. It is 



* Apparently they were not found suitable, for Mr. Spielmann 
says that nothing appeared from Mayhcw's pen for some years 
before his death, and he died in May, 1872. 

I Who afterwards presided over the criminal trial. 

468 



A SNOBBISH CELEBRITY 

improved, but it is not what I hope to make it. My 
men are bricks, but not hvely." 

It was about this time, Mrs. Panton tells me, that 
Shirley met at Mr. Frith's house, where he used to dine 
vSunday after Sunday, a very celebrated personage 
whose name was upon every one's lips. Shirley had 
lately been in the country and seen the great man's 
parents, a worthy couple who kept a toll-bar. On his 
introduction by Mr. Frith, Shirley said : — 

" I saw your people at last week, Mr. , and 

they are longing for a sight of you." 

The great man turned and fixed him with a glare — 

" I have no people at , Mr. — er Brooks," he said 

and turned aw^ay. 

" Well, that's a good one," said Shirley to Miss 
Frith, " his old mother showed me a tea-tray he'd 
given her, and a letter, and told me she had only had 
glimpses of him since he'd gone out to be a servant to 
the family whose name he had taken, but he'd promised 
to run down and see them this time, and I was to give 
the message. I'll be hanged if I speak to the skunk." 

It is only right to add that the following year 
Shirley took up the cudgels on behalf of the great 
man, when he found the world cavilling at his 
undoubtedly notable achievement. 

S. B. TO Mrs. F. Romer (Mrs. Jopling Rowe). 
" My dear Mrs. Romer, 

" I am so glad to think you are out of detestable 
London (which is the best place in the whole world, 
however, except just now), and that you are looking at 
and diving into the * melancholy ocean,' as Mr. Disraeli 
chooses to call it. 

469 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" I wish I was as fortunate. I cannot get away yet, 
however, and when I do go, I suppose it will be to 
Harrogate, as I am told the waters will renovate the 
Brooks. My folks will very likely go to Scotland — 
my elder boy is making a walking-tour in the Lakes, 
and writes from Ambleside — which / have never seen, 
but the young get everything in these days. 

" I make Sunday ' outs,' like a housemaid, and was 
yesterday at Mr. Burnand's, Ldgware, lying in an easy- 
chair and smoking, with the like athletic sports. But 
there was a noble moon to light up the pretty country, 
coming home. I suppose you have no moons in Whales, 
which is a pity. The Irish bard says : — 

" ' Long life to the moon, for a fine noble creature, 

That serves us with lamphght each night in the dark. 
While the sun only shines in the day, which, by nature, 
Wants no light at all, as you all may remark.' 

" I have my solitary * eat ' at the ' Bedford' most 
Saturdays. I was there the other night, but heard no 
news, except that . . . folks are getting away. . . . 
Mr. Frith asked us for a final dinner yesterday, but we 
were engaged, or I should have liked to see him. He is 
going to Boulogne-upon-the-sea. The head of your 
profession, I mean of course. Sir Edwin Landseer, is 
not at all better, indeed, I hear, from the best authority, 
that mentally he is worse, and in that provoking con- 
dition of mind that makes him see enemies in friends : 
it is sad that there should be such an evening to such 
a life.* ... If I were you (and do not I wish that I 
were), I would not work much while making holiday. 
It spoils two things and prevents your returning like 
a Giantess refreshed. When I get away, I try not even 

* He died in 1873. 

470 



SIR JAMES PAGET 

to answer letters, and am sometimes successful. We 
all work too hard — as I have said in print this week. 
" Believe me, 

" Always yours affectionately, 
" Shirley Brooks." 

" August 5th. 

" Wrote four lines on Paget's baronetcy. Repeated 
them to Rego, who said, ' There's any of our legs off, 

gratis.' " 

"THE SWORD OF MERCY. 

" Mr. Paget, the eminent surgeon, has received a baronetcy." 

" Thanks for the word, good Queen, which thou hast said— 
' Give the Red Hand to Paget, wise and brave ' : 
For when his firm and gentle hand is red, 
'Tis dyed that he may succour or may save." 

The following letter refers to the Walter Scott 
Centenary Dinner at which Hepworth Dixon was about 
to preside : — 

S. B. TO William Hepworth Dixon. 

" ' Punch ' Office, 85 Fleet St., 

" nth August, 1871. 

" My dear Hepworth, 

" I have every prospect of getting away on 
Sunday, and as it is matter of health I do not like — 
at least I do like, but I oughtn't to give up the duty 
for the pleasure I should have in attending the banquet. 
So give the toast to a worthier son of Sparta (and bid 
him be Spartan), and believe me that I am really 
sensible of your kindness in offering it to me. I wish 
you a great success, which they have not had in the 
north. The high priest of drunkenness, blasphemy, 
and obscenity, Robert Burns, takes all the shine out 
of his betters, there. 

" Ever yours, 

"S. B." 
. - 471 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" August 15lh. 

" It is the Scott centenary (b. 15th August, 1771), 
and in all heartiness drank to the memory of one who 
has done me more good, and given me more pleasure 
than any other writer. What loads of his poetry 
I know, and how pleasant it is (vide Hallam) to repeat 
it when one is alone. I hope I shall see him, long, long 
before his next centenary. 

* * * * 

" * You have worked too long and too hard,' writes 
Dr. Sibson to me. It is true, and I must have a 
holiday. But I have worked for them, and that is 
enough." 
" August mh. 

" We got a good cut, not exactly in honour of 
Mr. Gladstone, who deserves dishonour at our hands, 
for next day I heard that he had told Mrs. Lemon that 
there was no hope of a pension for her.* However, 
Punch can't make a personal matter the basis of his 
policy, but I think G. has been as handsome in the cuts 
as he is likely to be." 

On August 19th Shirley was at last able to get away 
to Harrogate, again leaving Percival Leigh as his locum 
tenens. He put up at the '' Granby," " stately sort of 
hotel, the aristocratic one, it seems." Here he soon 

* The pension was given, as we have seen, and Gladstone sweet- 
ened the gift by declaring that Mark Lemon had " raised the level 
of comic journahsm to its present standard." The cut referred to 
represents Gladstone, as Mrs. Britannia's Butler, saying, " Before 
taking leave for my holiday, my lady, may I venture to hope that 
my conduct, and that of the other servants, has given you every 
satisfaction." To which Britannia answers, " Take your holiday, 
Ewart. The less said about the rest the better," referring to the 
fact that the session had been particularly barren of useful 
legislation. 

472 



RECOGNITION IN HEAVEN 

became the centre of an admiring circle, talking much 
and making many friends. 

" August 23Yd. 

" Spoke of the wisdom of discharging a flogged 
criminal at once, that he might go among his people 
with the stigmata upon him, and see whether he 
continued their hero." 

" August 21th. 

" Sir F. Hughes lent me a httle memoir of his wife : 
the writer strong on our certain recognition of friends 
in Heaven, about which I have never had a gleam of 
doubt — told Sir F. H. so, and he said he would rather 
have heard it from an educated man than £20." 

" August 28th. 

" Walked with Hicks,* a short path by the water, 
till Fountains [Abbey] broke on me, as the end of a 
vista, between trees. A noble sight. But the sight 
was nobler when we came near. It is a ruin, but it is 
so little ruined that one imagines the monks driven 
away, for a time, by some magic, and intending to come 
back, restore, and renew their worship. I found a 
place, a low old wall to lie on, whence I looked at two 
angles of the great tower, and all being silent except 
the birds, I deeply enjoyed the scene for an hour, alone. 
The place has been admirably tended. Our party 
gathered, and we sat in the E. mndow. Very few 
other visitors, all quiet, but some lady told me she had 
seen, at some past day, dancing in the nave ! " 

" August 30th. 

" — Wrote a little sea-side drama f for Punch, IJ col., 
as there is no ' Essence.' " 

♦ Probably Henry Hicks, the geologist. 

f " A Seaside Tragedy," Punch, Sept. 9th, p. 101. 

473 



SHIRLEY BROOK55 

Notwithstanding Shirley's advice given in a preced- 
ing letter, he did not hesitate to " spoil " his cwn rare 
holidays by working. Scarcely a day passed without 
one or more letters to his deputy, scarcely a day that 
he did not forward something to help the " make-up." 
Far away though he was from the horses, he still kept 
a tight hand on the reins. An excerpt from a letter of 
Sept. 17th, to William Bradbury makes this very 
clear : — 

" Dear old Professor does his work very carefully, 
and I can easily understand he enjoys it, but of course 
I have my wire laid on to him, and this facility hugely 
promotes my own peace of mind." 

How actively he kept the '' wire " operating is obvious 
from the letters which follow : — 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" Granby Hotel, 

" Harrogate, 

" August 23rd, 71. 

" My dear Leigh, 

" Thanks for your note of yesterday. I hope you 
had a pleasant repast, and struck out a good thing. 
But no doubt this will cross a note from you. I sent 
up the ' Essence ' — may send up some bits. The 
Sambourne cut will be all right. 

" We have had lovely weather, but it is very wet 
to-day. However, we are a very large party here, and 
can amuse one another ; the drawing-rooms always 
contain many ladies who are willing to talk and laugh, 
and when one wants a change, there is a smoking-room 

474 



HIGH LIFE BELOW STAIRS 

with several habituSs who know men and cities. I do 
not think that there is a book in the house, except the 
Visitors' Book, which is not exciting. But, though the 
air is beautiful, and sweeps over the moors, health- 
bringing, there is a marvellous exposition of sleep 
comes on one, and a decided indisposition to mental 
effort. 

" I have no particular progress to report touching 
myself. ' From information I received,' I thought it 
best to acchmatize myself, before going at the sulphurs, 
and this I do under medical advice here, to which I am 
accredited by my own doctor. 

" Swain sent me two sketches by Ralston.* I have 
accepted one, and written direct to Ralston to say so. 
You will have it in due course — small boys and a huge 
dog. Perhaps you will mention this to Swain (and give 
him my address, in case he has anything to say or send 
to me,) on Friday. 

" There is an odd custom here which must have 
existed in the days of Mr. Matthew Bramble (do you 
remember about Harrogate in ' Humphrey Clinker ' ?). 
The first man servant of a gentleman who arrives at an 
hotel in the season is called ' My Lord,' and treated with 
reverence by all his fellow servants. The domestic of 
a friend of mine here wears the honour, and told the 
ladies' maid that ' he was a nobleman, but not a good 
match, so he wasn't afraid of being run away wdth by 
any of the ladies.' The menial has humour. 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

*' Shirley Brooks." 



* Mr. W. Ralston, who was about this time " discovered " 
by Mr. Joseph Swain and introduced to Shirley Brooks. He 
contributed regularly to Punch for about ten years. 

475 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Ditto to Ditto. 

" Granby Hotel, 

" Harrogate, 

" August 25th, 1871. 

" My dear Professor, 

" I have no doubt that Jackides will make a 
capital holiday cut, and the title is excellent. To- 
morrow, of course, I shall get the number, and should 
there be anything to suggest, I shall telegraph to you 
at No. 10, saying that a parcel is coming. In fact, I'll 
telegraph in any circumstances, to make all minds 
easy, though I daresay that I shall have nothing to say. 
You will have found that I sent up a few scraps, and 
returned the proof ' Essence.' Sambourne's picture* 
is remarkable — nearly as good as dear old Bennett 
would have been. 

" Just look at my ' Hamlet * quotation ; first, is it in 
' Hamlet ' ; second, if the first words should be 
altered please alter — the end I think must remain — 
* Roundell'd into sleep.' f 

" Yesterday wet ; to-day sun, but blowing half-a-dozen 
gales. 

" I believe that like the Indian Quaker, who was 
very holy all day, but at night went out and as ' Nick 
of the Woods ' slew Indians by the dozen, you have two 
characters — are jolly at the Council Board, and disguise 
yourself afterwards and go and make people take the 
pledge. 



* A wonderful initial "T" covering three-quarters of the page. 
Punch, Sept. 2nd, p. 87. 

I For once Shirley's memory was at fault. It was Prospero who 
spoke of life " being rounded with a sleep." 

476 



A NOTABLE "CARET" 

" Remember me to all who will take brandy and 
seltzer in your editorial chamber on Saturday. 

" Ever yours, obliged 

"S. B. 
" NichoUs of Mile End, Esq." 

S. B. TO W. H. Bradbury. 

" Granby Hotel, 
" Harrogate, 

" August 22nd, 71. 

" My dear William, 

" Poor Mrs. Lemon has got from Gladstone's 
secretary an answer assuring her that ' her claims to 
a pension on the Civil List have been carefully consi- 
dered. But in view of the number of pressing cases 

' much regrets that he 
before him he a cannot give any pledge whatever on 
the subject.' 

" (The words with caret are in the note as I have 
given them — happy after- thought, ' be civil.'). So 
much for that matter. I think we might try 
indirect pressure, or at all events manage to get 
such a decided appeal as would justify our bringing 
the case forward. I will write to you again with my 
notions hereon. 

" I am here and not before it was needful to come. 
* You have worked too hard and too long,' says 
Dr. Sibson, and unless I conquer those results of gout, 
I shall submerge one of these days. However, I am 
going at work in earnest with the waters, and I hope 
that I shall soon find an increase of vitality. 

" If you come up, I suppose it will be to return to 
the fresh air, which I hope is doing good to you and 

477 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

yours. Remember me kindly to Wagnew, Jagnew 
and Tagnew,* and 

** Believe me 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks. 
"W. H. B., Esq." 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" Granby Hotel, 

" Harrogate, 

" August 29th. 

" My dear Leigh, 

" Touching the ' L.C.',f I need not remark that 
the times are ' barren, barren, beggars all.* I hope 
that some ' happy thought ' will strike the Council, 
and that my suggestions will be merely used in case 
you don't find anything better. 

"1. Thiers resigning every twenty minutes is not 
unamusing, and we have not had a foreign cut for some 
time. If, somehow, he could be made as a very little, 
cocky old husband, bullying a handsome wife, France, 
and swearing that if he were interfered with in the 
management of the house, he would get a divorce — or 
have a separation — it might be comic. She might say 
' Mais, mon cher petit Adolphe, I would do all you like ; 
do not be so " bumpshus," my little angel.' 

"2. The French overtures to Ireland, or Ireland 
fawning on the French. John Bull might be looking 
at Ireland doing this to a Republican, and saying (to 
this effect), ' You think he will be a better friend to 
you than your old Grumpy. I thought you tried that 
some years ago (the time when France deluded Ireland 
with hopes, and then said that " having effected the 

* (Sir) William, Mr. John and Mr. Thomas Agnew. 
t The Large Cut. 

478 



PETULANT MONSIEUR THIERS 

desired diversion, she had done all that was wanted").' 
The Famine might be hinted at and our liberality. 
If you discuss this topic I think you'll get something. 

" 3. John Bright, fishing, and in a rage at being dis- 
turbed with a telegram about the House of Lords. 
' Verily a right thing to protest, verily a right thing to 
protest, and now be off with you, or I'll lose that 
infuriated fish.' (You saw what he said.) 

'^4. Gladstone, invited by a democrat or cad-radical 
to pitch into the House of Lords (into a nobleman), 
suggests to his friend that on the whole it might be as 
well to wait, as the lord has some merits and many 
friends. (See his letter to the fellows at Leeds.) 

''5. You have the Ayrton notions, sent last week. 

'^ 6. If you can't make anything out of them, and 
nothing else occurs to the Council, you had better 
read the enclosed letter from a correspondent. 

" This being only a business letter, I add no more, 
except that I shall raise my glass to you all, with best 
wishes, about 7.30 Wednesday. 

" Ever yours, and all of you,* 

"S. B." 

Ditto to Ditto. 

" Pump Room, 

" Harrogate, 

" August 30th, 71. 
" My dear Leigh, 

" The above is the Temple of Health, in which at 
8.15 every morning yours truly sacrifices himself, by 

* M. Thiers was chosen as the victim. He was for ever losing his 
temper in the National Assembly and threatening to resign. The 
" cut " was entitled " Hobson's Choice," and Gladstone was put 
into the same boat as Thiers. 

" M. Th . . rs. ' He, mon ami ! They say I am petulant, but — ' 
" Mr. Gl . dst . ne. ' Ah, M. le President, just so ! They say 
I'm irritable, but — they can't get on without us / ' " 

479 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

taking 8 oz. of the beastliest filth ever exuded by 
mother earth. Twenty minutes later, he does the feat 
again. Then he comes home, abides until nature has 
done her work, and then he eats a huge breakfast. On 
certain days he puts himself into a sort of stone cist, 
and soaks for 12 minutes in sulphur water at 98 degrees. 
He thinks it is doing him good, but it is too soon to 
know. That the air, quiet, and wholesome food and 
early hours must do him good seems indubitable. The 
society is very cheerful, and you will be pleased to 
know that Beethoven and Mendelssohn are heard, the 
pianoforte being struck by no unskilful hands, in the 
drawing-rooms in the evening. We do not dress much 
— the lounging coat is exchanged for the decorous 
surtout, that is all. The ladies pity our invalided 
condition, and do their best to amuse us. 

" I have made an excursion to Fountains Abbey, 
the finest thing I ever saw. O them monks, didn't 
they know how to pitch their tents 'mid woods and 
by waters ? And here they have reared a pile worthy 
the scene — the tower, in perfect preservation, is noble, 
and the nave and transepts (Richard the First, about) 
are great. Should you be surprised to hear that 
excursionists from Leeds, etc.. Dance therein to a fiddle ? 
However, when we were there all was silent as the blue 
sky, save for the swallows. 

" There are wealthy Colonels here, from India, with 
high-stepping horses of their own, and they are very 
kind in taking me for drives. The country is very fine, 
in places, and the bold moors suggest wholesomeness. 
You would like them better than even Richmond Park 
— indeed, you would like this life, for it is do-as-you- 
like, with welcome from a very nice set of people, if you 
happen to like to join them, but you need not. There 
are hotels here for fast people, but our aristocratic 
' Marquis of Granby ' knows not the ways of such. 

480 



WHO WAS THE FIRST "PUNCH" EDITOR? 

" This is a scribble of gossip. I wrote you on 

business yesterday. I shall hear from you in the 

morning. May be Ancutt* will not get ' pars.' from 

me till Friday morning, but that will be in good time. 

" Hoping you are going to enjoy your dinner, 

*' Ever yours, 

"S. B. 

" We were rather over Punched this week, having 
his effigy 5 times, but it does not matter, in fact perhaps 
it looks ' hohday.' " 

This is no place to discuss the genesis of Punch nor 
to enter into the controversy which has raged round 
the subject of the first editorship of that journal. 
Besides which, the whole matter has been exhaustively 
dealt with in Mr. M. H. Spielmann's " History." At 
the same time, the following note sent to Percival Leigh 
about this time is of interest, supporting as it does in 
various details the conclusions to which Mr. Spielmann, 
as I know after very careful consideration, inevitably 
came. 

S. B. TO Percival Teigh. 

" This is merely a Punch History matter. I found 
in Notes and Queries that somebody had described 
A. Beckett as at one time Editor of Punch. I wrote, 
a month ago, a letter doing ample justice to dear old 
Gil, but asserting positively that M. L. had always 
been sole Editor. This week a man sends the letter 
I enclose. I shall answer it the week after this. 
Meantime can you tell me what was the book he 
mentions, and who wrote it ? I suppose all, or several, 
to have contributed, and dear M. L.'s good-natured 

* The printer. 

481 

32— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

way of doing things to have let him call them all 
Editors. But if it was only his and Henry Mayhew's 
(not likely), the case is somewhat altered. He always 
said that he alone was the Editor always. You know 
whether you, a much older Punch man than anyone 
else now, looked in the slightest degree to anybody else 
for Editorship. Maybe you would not mind saying 
this in N. & Q.^ but of this hereafter. I want to know 
whether you have any recollections as to the ' Shilling's 
Worth of Nonsense.' 

" This is a horrid scrawl, but I have had a very long 
walk, and my hands are full of the vital fluid. A 
glorious day for walking over ' our ' moors ; also I went 
to church, for three minutes." 

" Sept. 2nd. 

" Gave * Aspen Court ' to Miss Hicks. Her father 
told me that Sir Francis Doyle, Professor of Poetry, 
told him that Browning told him that the ' GoodNews'* 
did not refer to any historical event, but that he wrote 
it on board a vessel, happening to feel that ' Pegasus 
wanted a canter.' A good galop he got." 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" Granby Hotel, 
" Harrogate, 
"Sunday, Sept. 3rd, 71. 

" My dear Leigh, 

" ' Yours to hand ' — also Punch. The number 
is all right, thanks to you. The title of the cut I like.f 
It is not too severe. In fact, the severity is against 
the Opposition, who have no horse to run against 

* " How they Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix." 
t " Hobson's Choice," mentioned in the note to letter of August 
29th. 

482 



HARROGATE AND OLD HARRY 

Gladstone. I have said this to Fred. Quite right not 
to alter the making up for T. T.'s verses ; he explained 
to me why he was late, and that Mrs. Taylor had 
copied the poem, to prevent mistakes, but noon on 
Saturday would have been late under (I mean in) any 
circumstances. I will write to him, however. 

" Sufficient for the day is the cut thereof, but I think 
the next should bear upon the Army and Navy bung- 
lings. F. C. B.'s par. is particularly to the point, and 
taken with mine, will show you what I think we might 
try to express. Think this over, will you ? I will send 
any idea that may occur. I am in a military circle 
here, in the smoke room, and a sensible one, and I hear 
the oddest things of jobbing and blundering. There 
was a contract for bridles and bits for mules during the 
Crimean war, and when an officer who had seen mule 
service represented to the authorities that a mule 
never had such a thing as a bit in his mouth, he was 
almost kicked. This is only one of heaps of things of 
the sort. 

" I scribe to you in our big drawing-room : the hotel 
is gone to church, with a deduction in favour of (or 
against) men who have retired to their own rooms to 
pretend to be at their devotions. 

" There is a Harrogate rhyme, it seems — something 
this way : 

" ' When Old Harry flew over the Harrogate Wells, 
His attention was drawn to the mixture of smells — 
Says he, ' I don't know where I've happened to roam, 
But I'm sure, by the scent, that I'm not far from home.' 

It is no exaggeration, i.e., in the spring district, about 
a mile from here. You'd think it was the site of the 
Cities of the Plain. But Lot's wife has also been 
dissolved in the waters, which make one as thirsty as 
Tantalus. A very sensible doctor here, who insists 

483 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

on a certain moderation of diet, but d — d ' drugs/ as 
he profanely calls them. The symptoms you suggested 
have come, and he says ' All right, shows the sulphur 
is taking hold.' . . . 

" Quite right about the Alexandra* — the advertising 
of this. Ozokerit, and other things try to ear-wig the 
publisher, and suggest puffs in exchange for ' ads.', 
but we leave that to Fun and Judy. You can easily 
evade such beggars, even if you adopt the boatswain's 
reading of evasion. 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

"S. B." 

Ditto to Ditto. 

" Granby, Harrogate, 

"Sept.Sth, 71. 

" My dear Professor, 

" To gain the extra post, I will direct the letter 
with any suggestions for L. C.f to you to the ' Bedford.' 
This will save you the trouble of going or sending to 
Bouverie Street. I would have done so last week, 
had I known of your change of rendezvoo. 

" I have usually abstained from Tichborne, but on 
the whole I am glad the little par. appeared, for his 
friends stick pars, in his favour into the country papers, 
and I had thought of sending up a ' quip modest,' or so. 

* " The Alexandra Palace and Muswell Hill Estate Management 
Co.," which was advertising itself by public lectures and apparently 
other ways. But it was to no purpose, for its affairs were wound up 
five months later. It would be well if journals, which assume a very 
high moral attitude in these days, would follow Punch's example 
and refuse to log-roll their advertisers by puffs indirect. 

I Large Cut. 

484 



"I SHOULD JUST LIKE TO SEE THE MAN'' 

** Tenniel will no doubt let you know of his where- 
abouts in the country, in case of any tremendous event 
happening, but this is singularly unlikely. 

" If you send me a line from the ' Bedford ' to say what 
you decide on (the soberest of you can write it) and let 
the ' Bedford ' post it that night, I shall get it about 4 on 
Thursday. . . . 

" Ever yours, 

"S. B. 
" P. L., Esq." 

S. B. TO George du Maurier. 

" Granby Hotel, 

" Harrogate. 
" Friday. Sept. 8th, 71. 

" My dear Kickey, 

" I hear from Fred that you are established. 
I hope you have warm weather — ours is of the kind 
Jerrold called embracing. My folks are in Paris, Hotel 
of New York and Londres, Place du Havre, and say 
they are comfortable, but they go on to Heidelburg at 
once, I believe. 

" The above edifice holds me every morning at 8.10, 
when I drink one pint of sulphur ; J- of an hour later, 
another — and being thus diabolically refreshed, I come 
home to a huge breakfast. Coming out of the above 
temple this morning, I was talking to a very pretty 
girl ; somehow we spoke of obedience to husbands. 
* I should like to see the man whom I would obey,' she 
said, with a graceful toss of the head. ' I believe that 
you would very much like to see him,' I said, with my 
usual, etc. She laughed. I don't know whether there 
is anything in the wit that would expand into a cut, — 
an old maid might make the reply, but you have it as 
it happened, or it might be that young — wished he 

485 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

dared say, * You see him, adored one.' No, this spoils 
it.* 

" Another fact. At some country place one of two 
young ladies, in the shop that is the post-office, said to 
the post-mistress, * How late you sent out the letters 

this morning, Mrs. .' ' Yes, Miss, but you see I 

had such a lot of all these post cards to read' I believe 
she thought this one part of her duty. 

" Fred joins you, I believe. Do not go on the scoop 
too much. But I think Folkestone affords no great 
opportunities for frantic dissipation. I went to meet 
a young lady coming over from France, and I knew she 
was good-looking, but when I beheld her, hagged and 
wretched from the sea, I thought that if I had been 
engaged to her, I should have tried to back out, it was 
a revelation of what she would be ten years later. 

" There goes the bell for lunch. I don't want none, 
but people think you are ill if you are not always 
eating, so I shall go and have some potted salmon. 
It is a ' basis for a smoke.' 

" Kindest regards to Mrs. du Maurier from 

" Yours ever, 

"S. B." 

" Sept. 22nd. 

" At dinner, Rector Gordon not having come in time 
to say grace, it was suggested to another parson, a 
Mr. H., better known as ' Cackles,' to do so, but he 
refused, saying, he would not ' play second fiddle.' 
A sweet type of divine." 

* Du Maurier did use the joke a month later. 

" Miss Minerva Bristhngton (fiercely), ' Honour and obey, indeed ! 
Ha ! Ha ! I should just hke to see a man ask me to " honour and 
obey ' him." 

" (' I've no doubt you'd like to see him very much indeed,' thought 
the two Miss Marigolds, but they didn't say so)." 

486 



''NOT MUCH BORED'' 
S. B. TO Mrs. F. Romer (Mrs. Jopling Rowe). 

"September 13th, 1871. 

" My dear Louise, 

" Your kind note (no date) has followed me here, 
and ' here ' will, I suppose, be my address for some 
time, as I find air, waters, and idleness are agreeing 
with me ' uncommon.' I am so glad that you enjoyed 
your sojourn in Wales, and that you can now address 
yourself to work, more lightly ' handicapped ' than 
before. (Excuse the racing word, but I am in 
Yorkshire, which is this day simply mad over the 
St. Leger.) I suppose that you do not know this place. 
It is not a place. There are houses on a moor, and 
springs of more or less abominableness everywhere. 
That is High Harrogate, where I am. There is a sort 
of town called New Harrogate, which has its shops 
and hotels and fireworks, etc., but we only ' condescend ' 
to this when we want to shop, or to get at the worst 
sulphur of all. But everywhere are beautiful districts 
to go to : ruins, rocks, wells, and the rest, and we make 
excursions in carriages, and lunch, and flirt (that is, 
the younger ones do) and agree that we are enjoying 
ourselves. A huge drawing-room in the evening — 
music, cards, chess, backgammon, scandal, all the 
luxuries of the season. This is the old aristocratic 
hotel, the county folks, and the other magnates come 
here, and we have heiresses and some beauty. We sit 
down to a table d'hote, from 60 to 70. I am not much 
bored. My family is at Heidelburg, I hope, that is, 
they were to leave Strasburg on Monday for the other 
place, and they complain of the heat. We have no such 
complaint here, and I have just been feeding the 
smoking-room fire with the Punch correspondence. 

" I hope you'll get this note, but I have forgotten 
the right district in which Coleherne Terrace is, but 
I know it is in the Directory. 

487 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Would you could see Fountains Abbey. It is the 
most glorious thing I ever saw of its kind. Hardly a 
ruin, the great tower is perfect and so is much of the 
church. And in such a scene ! Yes, I have not seen 
Tintern, but I think Fountains must be the sight of 
England. We have, or rather the plebeians in Low 
Harrogate have, a picture exhibition — I suppose the 
works are genuine — I send the list, I must look in. 
Mr. Frith was born somewhere here, and his name 
is mentioned with acclaim in these parts. 

" There goes the lunch-bell. I will let you off with 
this amount of scrawl, and if you want any more, write 
again. If you go to the ' Bedford,' and care to say you 
have heard, remember me very kindly to Helen, who is, 
I suppose, the lady in charge still. 

" Ever yours affectionately, 

" Shirley Brooks. 
" Mrs. L. Romer." 

The reference to Mr. Frith in the above letter tempts 
me to purloin (by permission) another page from his 
dehghtful " Reminiscences." On the walls of " The 
Granby " hung, and I believe still hang, some of the 
artist's earliest efforts, presented by him to Miss 
Baynes, the landlady, many years ago. Shirley, 
always ready to sparkle outside as well as inside the 
pages of Punchy seizes the opportunity of playing a joke 
and writes a letter purporting to come from Miss Baynes 
herself. 

S. B. (writing as Miss Baynes) to Mr. Frith, R.A. 
" Dear Mr. Frith, 

" Not being well able to write, I use the pen of our 
mutual friend, Mr. S. Brooks, who has kindly consented 

488 



A BOGUS LETTER 

to convey to you a request which I have hardly the 
courage to make. But your kindness in the matter 
of your early pictures emboldens me to address you. 

" The local authorities have decided that all the 
hotels in Harrogate shall have signs, and against this 
arbitrary rule we have petitioned in vain. The 
enclosed paragraph shows you our lamentable case. 

" Would you be so kind as to paint me a sign for the 
' Granby ' ? I should take it very well of you. I have 
heard from a friend of yours that you can do this sort 
of thing very well, and if you have any difficulty I am 
sure that your friend Mr. E. M. Ward, R.A., would 
assist you with advice and example. I leave the 
subject to yourself, but I need hardly say that it must 
not be at all objectionable? in d^lmoral point of view, as 
the visitors to the ' Granby ' are very high-toned about 
virtue and grub. If you did not mind (and I am aware 
that I may offend your modesty, which is one of your 
most pleasing characteristics) painting your own head 
for the sign, I should be very glad, and it would he a good 
advertisement for you ; but if you prefer painting any 
other Guy, I shall be equally thankful. Terms shall 
not separate us, and if you would like to come and 
reside here for a fortnight, as soon as the respectable 
people are gone, you shall be treated as one of the 
family. Then you could hang the picture yourself, 
and as you have been lately on the Hanging Committee 
I shall feel much confidence in you. 

" My nieces send their duty. They wish the sign 
to be the ' Queen Charlotte,' in honour of the elder ; 
but you may not like this, for though her features are 
very charming, they are not what you would call 
Academical. But, if you come down, you can settle 
this with her. 

" I must not trespass longer on your patience, or 
on that of Mr. Brooks, who is restless to get away and 

489 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

smoke. He is a delightful man, and I am glad that 
you now choose such excellent companions. It was 
not always so ; but we need not revert to the follies 
of youth — we have all been young. 

" I should like this colour* to be predominant in the 
picture I ask for ; and I am, dear Mr. Frith, 

" Yours faithfully and sincerely, 

" Miss Baynes." 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" J /o 6 p.m. 

" My dear Professor, 

" To-day, for the first time in my medical holiday, 
I don't send you anything. I suppose the sulphur took 
to curing me too fast, but to-day just when I was going 
to write for you, came a kaleidoscopic dance of atoms, 
and all I could do was to shut my eyes, and go to sleep. 
I have awaked just before post-time, and merely send 
a line to say so ; of course, I will telegraph freely 
should there be need, which I dare say there won't be. 

" Ever, 

"S. B." 

S. B. TO W. H. Bradbury. 

" Granby, 

" Harrogate, 

"26th Sept., 1871. 

" My dear William, 

" The doctor, you will be glad to know, I know, 
makes a very favourable report of me, and declares 
I shall be ' set up.' He advises me to make about 
another fortnight and ' clench the nail.' I feel so much 
better that I want to get back to work, but it may be 

* The colour that was to be " predominant in the picture " was 
indicated by a piece of bright red paper, attached to the letter. 

490 



F.S.A. 

wiser to lay in a good stock of health. I feel quite 
' another party.' But I shall send up copy to Leigh, 
indeed I have done this more or less, all the time, for 
I feel, as I have often told you, that it is the brief 
epigrammatic bits that we don't get. Our horses 
make excellent running, but they don't take fences — to 
talk Yorkshire. And I have a notion for a little series 
of my own, when F. C. B. has done. In fact, I have 
been able, in leisure, to think over a deal. 
* * * * 

" I asked a young lady from Cambridgeshire — we 
were talking of local beliefs, etc. — whether they have 
any particular superstition in her county. ' Well — no 
— I don't know. We go to church.'* 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks. 
'' W. H. Bradbury, Esq." 

On Oct. 3rd he makes the entry in his diary : — 

" Ouvryf, at my wish, took down particulars, with 
a view to my joining the Antiquaries. One may as 
well have some initials to one's name." 

That was on his last day at Harrogate. 

On Oct. 4th he was back in town and wrote : — 

" Thankful to be in London again, after the longest 
holiday I have had for many a long day." 

Then came the inside of a week at Folkestone, and 
then he was in harness once more. 

* This seemed to please Shirley, for he repeats it in a letter to 
Lady Hardman. 

f Frederick Ouvry, at that time Secretary and afterwards 
President of the Society of Antiquaries. Shirley was elected 
Fellow in the following January. 

491 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

S. B. TO Mrs. Frith. 

" Bedford Hotel, 

" CovENT Garden, 

"Oct. 5th, 1871. 8.30 rt.w. 

" My dear Mrs. Frith, 

" Many thanks for your kind invitation, which 
I received on arriving last night. But I must get some 
work done, and then be off to Folkestone, or I shall be 
sued in the Divorce Court. We return next Wednes- 
day, finally, and then the holidays are over. As I left 
dear old Harrogate yesterday morning, I said, in the 
most pensive and affecting manner : — 

" ' One long last sigh, for love and thee 
And then to busy life again.' 

" Love means sulphur, but that wouldn't come into 
the line. I am sorry to hear of your tribulations, in 
trying to come over. 

" ' It was an agony, 'tis now forgot.' 

" These two Byronic quotations before breakfast 
you will believe that Yorkshire has done me good." 
" Ever yours affectionately, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

S. B. TO Mrs. Frith. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park. 
" Sunday, Oct. \5th, 1871. 

" My dear Mrs. Frith, 

" Many thanks for the very kind invitation re- 
ceived last night, on return from the — Gaiety, so called 
from its dulness, at present at least. Very sorry am 
I not to be able to dine with you on Wednesday. 
But I cannot put off the P. dinner (at which I must be 
present) for we are engaged to dinner on Thursday. 

492 . 



YORKSHIRELY-LAVISHLY 

I hope, however, to see Sissy* and her baby while 
they are in town. I must have a great talk with you 
and Frith about Yorkshire, which has done me so much 
good, that I shall always think well of it (in spite of the 
people), and I hope to re-visit it very soon, that is in 
fine weather. 

" Tell Frith that his friend Miss Baynes sent him all 
sorts of kind messages. She is a dear funny old thing. 
When I said, going away, that I hoped to see her again, 
she jerked out, ' I don't know then whether you will 
or not.' The way they try (and succeed) to make one 
comfortable, in that house, is delightful, and old 
fashioned as it is, I like it a hundred times better than 
the new places, where you are only No. 29, like a convict 
in prison. Fish is the weak point, all else is whole- 
somely, lavishly, Yorkshirely done. Pianoforte in 
smoke-room, made by manufacturer to the ' Prince 
of Wales,' yes, but not Bertie, but Georgie the 
Gorgeous ! I made some of the girls play on it — how 
they screamed ! But of this more when we meet. 
My wife's best love and hopes that all goes on better 
than well in Hamilton Terrace. f 

" Ever yours affectionately, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

On October 30th he writes what, so far as his bio- 
grapher is concerned, is perhaps the most poignant 
sentence in the whole of his voluminous writings : — 

" Finished indexing diaries — have all now done 
from 1850 to '71, and this will help me much in 
composing the autobiography which I should like to 
leave.'' 

* Mrs. Panton. 

t Where lived Mrs. Oppenheim, Mr. Frith's eldest daughter. 
The baby of 1871 is now a Captain in the Bays. 

493 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

One only consolation there is in the disappointment 
which all must feel that he was not spared to carry out 
his plan — the consolation that it can hardly be contrary 
to his wishes that such of his carefully preserved notes 
as have escaped the general destruction should be 
given to the public. 

" Nov. 5th. 

" Fred lends me Congreve, Wycherley, etc. ' Love 
for Love ' was revived at the Gaiety on Saturday, but 
seems to have been horribly, but necessarily mutilated. 
Read it, and ' The Way of the World.' Madame 
Vestris once suggested to me that it would be a fine 
thing to perform one of the old comedies just as 
written, but then, she said, we must have no fools in the 
house — meaning that the thing was to be regarded 
artistically." 
" Nov. 8th. 

" A longish bit I writ in Punch about V. Hugo — 
' Le Dernier Cri ' in the Times.''* 
•' Nov. 9th. 

" Very plain women, mostly, but lots of diamonds — 
there was a pair of white shoulders before me, however, 
which were pleasanter to look at than most things 
round, and this owner knew it, and was liberal. (This 
entry savours of levity, but I have just been writing 
an imitation of Pepys.)" 

* " Le Dernier Cri deM. Victor Hugo," Punch, Nov. 11th, 203, is 
a clever skit on the great writer's extravagance of thought and 
diction. " They are gone, those Germans ! . . . If I could hate 
them more than I do, it is because they have not dared to rob us 
of our art treasures. Fools, we might have mourned the loss of 
pictures and statues, but we should have had the consolation of 
feehng that they were gone to civilize a barbarous race, to teach 
Germany lessons in morality and humanity, etc., etc." 

494 



"WOMAN IN WHITE" ^•• 

" Nov. \Oth. 

" Did a ' Pepys at Guildhall ' for Punch." 

" Nov. 22nd. 

" Suggested cut, Gladstone as a Scotsman, he having 
written that he is ever happy to appear in that 
character."* 

" Nov. 23rd. 

" The Prince of Wales is ill at Sandringham, typhoid 
fever, but it is stated that though the attack is severe, 
there is no danger. Physicians summoned. Just 10 
years since his father d. of something of the same kind. 
I remember Pater came over to tell me, and I wrote 
verses in P. which were said to have gratified the 
Queen." 

" Nov. 24th. 

" With E. to Olympic, to see the ' Woman in White.' 
Pit box, O.P. lights in the way. Disappointed, of 
course. The story is well told, but it is not interesting 
on the stage, though very interesting in the book. 
Reasonably well acted — Viningf much better than 
I expected. Provincial accents among the company, 
which ought not to be in a London theatre." 

" Nov. 25th. 

" Dies donorum. For the Rev. F. G. Wood sent me 
his handsome ' Insects at Home,' a joy for Cecil. 
Smiles sent two books, which Rego will like. Mrs. 
Marriette, our neighbour, sent E. some magnificent 
perch. And last and most glorious of all. Sheriff 

* Gladstone's secretary had written, " Mr. Gladstone is ever 
happy to appear in the character of a Scotsman." In the cartoon 
he is represented dancing between two swords labelled 
" Radicalism," " Toryism," 

" And he'll dance a long time, to ourselves as it seems, 
While he balances wisely between the Extremes.'^ 
t G. J. Vining, who acted Count Fosco. ... 

495 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Bennett* sent me a beautiful watch, keyless, with 
S. B. enamelled thereon ! AstrcBa Redux. Editing as 
usual. W. H. B. and Fred out for a short time, but 
he is under the rigid Duplex. Dined alone, ' Bedford.' 
Wrote Rego. Then to Lyceum, box 5. E. there and 
C. Dickens, f to whom in his need she had luckily a seat 
to offer. First night of * The Bells,' a drama from 
M. M. Erckmann-Chatrian. It is fantastic and poetic. 
A dream of a trial, and the truth extorted by mesmer- 
ism, is a bold and good idea. A Kean is wanted for 
the one part, but Irving did his best. We saw some 
* Pickwick,' but it is necessarily flat. In the box E. 
told me of the watch. There is no reason why I should 
not accept it, and Bennett's note (which preserve) 
is in very good taste. I may as well note here that 
I replied next day, in a letter which may be read here- 
after and will show how unexpected was such a 
memorial. How many watches have I had ? First, the 
old gold one, C. W. B. But I forget its successor 
till I came to one I had of Joel Ellis. Then the silver 
one, now Rego's. Then the gold one I now wear of 
Jones's (which has varied only 6 minutes in 6 months), 
now this of the Sheriff's. There ought to be many 
presentations to come, for I have obliged hundreds of 
people. We'll see." 

" Nov. 2m. 

" Good fun. I put in Punch this week a flaming 
mock-puff of ' P. Book.' J It is in the Times to-day. 
It ought to do good ; anyhow, as I say, it is fun." 

" Dec. Isl. 

" Article for Punch , ' Gladstone's Religions.' (That 

* (Sir) John Bennett. 

f Junior. 

J " Punch's Review of ' Punch's Pocket-Book,' " Dec. 2nd, p. 236. 

496 



OBJECTIONABLE STAGE-DANCING 

fool Whalley keeps on asking him whether he is a secret 
Papist.)" * 

" Dec. Ath. 

" Forster's 1st vol. of Dickens's life just out. It was 
new to me, as it will be to most, that C. D. as a boy 
of 10 stuck labels on blacking-bottles, and was ill-fed — 
there is a very touching bit of autobiography, saying 
how he tried to make his poor little money last all 
the week, by dividing it into parcels. E. thinks the 
publication will annoy the family. However, D. left 
these details for publication." 

" Dec. 5th. 

"Went to the ^ Garrick' at 3, and stayed there, except 
that I went in to Macmillan's, who gave me some books, 
and asked me to d. at G., where he had a party, but 
as Sir C. Dilke, who has been spouting republicanism, 
was to be one, I would not go, hating to dine with a 
man, and abuse him in print, as I must do. 
* * * * 

" Emily had gone with Mrs. Y. to the Philharmonic, 
IsHngton, expecting to see a pretty opera, which they 
had, and to have a box, which they had not, and this 
vexed me rather, as the stalls there are hardly places 
for her, and moreover there was dancing which 
* shocked ' her — the abomination for which the 
Alhambra was refused a license. I will pitch into this." 

" Dec. 1th. 

" Collins and Lewesf stayed till 12. Forster's 

* Whalley had written to Gladstone asking whether he had 
secretly become a Romanist. Gladstone had replied that Whalley 
had asked him in a roundabout way whether he was " the basest 
creature in the kingdom." For Shirley's article, vide Punch, Dec. 
9th, p. 245. 

f Wilkie CoUins and George Henry Lewes. 

497 

33— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

' Dickens ' talked of — they call it * Life of J. F. with 
notices of C. D.' " 
" Dec. 8th. 

" Into town, looking for an easy day of final revision 
of the Almanac, and found that Ancutt had mis- 
calculated his copy, and a great deal more was wanted. 
This, of course, I had to supply. Luckily, I had given 
myself good wine overnight, or a column and more 
of faceticB might not easily have been managed. Rather 
a drag, as it was, but I have an odd habit of concocting 
nonsense. Sent away nearly all the pages to the 
foundry, for electrotyping, and arranged that the last 
was to be sent up to me. Home to d. and expected it, 
when came a note instead, saying that all ' fitted,' and 
Ancutt had sent on the page to the foundry. I was 
in the utmost rage, which was not very useful." 
" Dec. 9ih. 

" Wrote for P. a paragraph about the Prince,* 
which will do should he survive, but if, poor fellow, he 
does not, and I hear on Monday morning, we issue 
a second edition with a different record. I trust I shall 
not have to do it." 
" Dec. mil. 

" Observer — no change. E. to church, telegram read 
by Haweis. The impression is that the doctors are 
just keeping him alive. Fred was announced. I 
thought he might be come on a Sunday to tell me the 
Prince was dead, just as dear old Pater, Fred's father, 

* The Prince (our present gracious and beloved Sovereign) lay 
between life and death from Dec. 6th to Dec. 13th. " The deep 
anxiety," wrote Shirley Brooks, " at this moment pervading the 
country forbids our going to press without a word of record that we 
are all in sympathy with the Royal Lady who now watches by the 
bed-side of her eldest son, and that a nation's desire for his 
recovery is in earnestness second only to the prayer of his Mother 
and of his Wife." 

498 



ILLNESS OF THE PRINCE OF WALES 

came on Sunday to tell me the Prince's father was dead, 
15th Dec, 1861. 

•t* *l* ^ ^* 

" This Sunday may be said to have been given up, 
by all, to the Prince of Wales. Sermons everywhere. 
Telegraph offices open at unusual hours. Rush every- 
where for new editions of the papers. Fred came to 
me 3 times, first as above, then on his way from the 
club, lastly at 8 with Amy. Ancutt, by order, came 
and sat in the drawing-room 1|- hour waiting in case 
Fred should bring news. 

SJC ?f« ^t 0^ 

" The last telegram was this, which a boy brought 
up. It was in Lloyd's : — 

" ' Sandringham, 

" ' Sunday, 5 p.m. 

" ' The Prince of Wales has passed an unquiet 
afternoon, with a return of the more urgent symptoms. 
" ' (Signed) William Jenner, M.D. 
William Gull, M.D. 
John Lowe, M.D.' " 

"Dec. llth. 

" 1.30 this morning. 'Has had a little sleep — the 
symptoms unchanged.' Sorrowful work to read the 
papers to-day. A beautiful, because simple, note from 
the Princess of Wales to Onslow, the clergyman, asking 
him to introduce an early prayer for her husband, in 
which she could join, and then return to him. 11 a.m. 
I receive Daily News with a telegram dated 8.15. 
' A restless night, with a further recurrence of the 
graver symptoms. This seems ' fatal.' Sent a few words 
to be added, if time allows, to the P. paragraph. . . . 

'* The Prince held on. Hawes went out in the 
evening, and reported the 5 p.m. news : ' A very 
restless afternoon, but the exhaustion not increased.' " 

499 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Dec. \2th. 

" The Prince still lives. * A very restless night, 
without signs of improvement.' Bloomer sent me 
a later one, 7.30 to-day. The above was 1.30 a.m. 
and said ' is passing/ and the second is ' very restless 
night, almost no sleep. Pulse continues fairly good.' " 

" Dec. I3ih. 

" To-day there is a disposition to be hopeful. Last 
night ' the prostration had not increased.* To-day 
there is * no change.' One would like to see the blue 

sky through the clouds, but I own that I cannot, yet. 

* * * * 

" Wrote Leader for Illustrated, to-day, early. (On 
the Prince, taking the idea of Hope, but before the 
messenger had taken it, I heard that the last news 
was unfavourable.) If the 14th (P. Consort) should 
end all ! * 

4c 4e ^ 3|e 

** Sambourne d. and will do so for the future. He 
is very valuable as an artist. Almanac d., but we don't 
publish yet, until the Prince's crisis shall be over. 
We arranged two pictures, to use that which shall be 
fitting." 

" Dec. Wh. 

" ' Continues to be less restless.' Worn out, I fear, 

but it may be better news than it seems. 

* * * * 

" Tenniel came about the cuts, being bewildered, 
and we had a long talk, to the purpose. It is the 
' Suspense '| that must be recorded by Punch." 

* The Prince Consort died of the same disease on Dec. 14th. 1861. 
So convinced was Shirley that recovery was hopeless that Punch 
was all ready to appear with black borders. 

I The cartoon represented Britannia waiting with bated breath 
outside the door of the sick room. 

500 



" SUSPENSE " ■• 

" Dec. 15th. 

" We believe H.R.H. is out of danger. Bloomer, 
who has very civilly been sending me copies of the 
telegrams, sent this which I found on coming down, 
and which I embodied in the H.N. leader. ' A quiet 
night, debility great, but general conditions more 
favourable.' His living through the 14th is much, for 
some people." 
" Dec. mth. 

" The Prince's danger is now held to be over. The 
excitement will be long remembered. Our cut will be 
' Suspense,' and will record this." 

S. B. TO Mrs. (now Lady) Hardman. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

"Dec. I9th, 1871. 
" Tuesday. 

" My dear Mrs. Hardman, 

"... We heartily wish that you had settled in 
town, and we don't despair of your some day getting 
tired of bucolic life and coming back into civilization. 
When I was little, even in my own eyes, I had some 
picture cards with versicles on them. One I recollect 
ran thus — there was a shepherd pensively beating a 
sheep, and, I suppose, thinking ambitiously, for he was 
advised, 

" ' Shepherd, seek not wealth or power, 
Let the green and leafy Bower 
And the hills and vales and trees. 
And the lowly cottage please. 

" ' Can the gaudy gilded room 
Equal fields in summer bloom ? 
Quit not, then, thy farm and fold, 
Nor exchange thy peace for gold.' 

50\ 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

The logic of the last verse was very powerful, but it 
never convinced me. You still like the lowly cottage 
and the leafy Bower (what is a bower ?), but you will 
be wiser some day. Why, we can go and see Toole 
whenever we like ! True, that is never, but the moral's 
the same. 

"Reginald (altitude 7ft. 11 inches) is home from 
Owens College, and Cecil (depressitude 2 ft. 1 inch) 
from the International. They are, thanks, very well. 
But the religious education is supposed not to be over 
until the Confirmation, so any tracts, etc., will be 
thankfully accepted. 

" Ask the Beak* to look at a paragraph in to- 
morrow's Punch about a man who stole magistrates. 

" Mrs. Brooks sends you her best love, and says that 
when the gentle spring arrayed in ethereal mildness, 

shall ] ^ u the meadows with delight, she hopes 

for the pleasure of visiting you. I need not add that 
she never expressed herself half so beautifully, or that 
the language is that 

" Of yours ever sincerely, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

Always on the look-out for, and loving to share, 
comic things with his friends, he writes to the same 
lady on the same day : — 

" There was a good misprint in a Devon paper. . . . 
Some festivity — Colonel Hill (I think) in the chair, and 
after speeches somebody rose ' and proposed the death 
of the Chairman ' (loud cheers !)." 

* (Sir) William Hardman, whom Shidey nicknamed " Incarnate 
Justice." 

502 



AS AMATEUR ACTOR 

" Dec. 2m. 

" A fine day. Felt somewhat gloomily, but had 
some affectionate words from E. at night that made me 
forget all that had crossed my mind. Mrs. Jerrold and 
Alice called. The latter is really very pretty and nice 
— to parody Pepys, ' did kisse her and so did my wife.' 
A capital talk with Cecil about the origin of language 
— his * and for this reason ' delightful in its gravity, 
and his reason was good, too. Rego expressed himself 
very properly about a not gentlemanly paragraph we 
had read in a paper — the right instinct, a coarser boy 
would have seen only fun. There — I have recorded 
good of each of them, bless them all three, and so ends 
diaiy for Xmas Eve." 

" Dec. 2&h. 

" Kate Bateman Crowe* wants to carry out our old 
whim of playing ' Bombastes ' .-f wants to do it on 
Isabel's b.-d. ' I shall never be satisfied if I don't play 
Distaffina to your General. Will you, or would it 
trouble you ? We wouldn't be bothered with costumes 
or scenes.' Well, it's Christmas : let us laugh. 
Telegraphed 

" ' The General you have made sends verses two : 
Gladly accepts. Leaves everything to you.' 

In an hour and a half got telegram, ' Bless you. Will 
search for trusty aides.' Wrote Lacy for the book. . . . 
Wrote a * Proclamation to Correspondents ' for 
Punch ''X 

" Dec. 21th. 

" Cab to 14 Grafton Street, where found Mrs. 
Bateman, Kate, Jenny ,§ and Bella. We rushed into 

* The well-known actress ; married George Crowe in 1866. 
f " Bombastes Furioso," burlesque by W. B. Rhodes. 
I Punch, Jan. 6th, 1872, p. 12. 
§ Virginia Bateman (Mrs, Compton.) 

503 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

rehearsal, and had the greatest fun. Crowe came. 
I certainly never intended to perform any more, 
especially before 80, of whom a lot would be known to 
me, but we'll go in for a laugh at Xmas. Only one 
rehearsal, however, is odds against an amateur. But 
my doing it will please the three girls, and their mother, 
and I like them all excessively. Proposed to introduce 
the ' Jabberwock verses ' from ' Thro' the Looking- 
Glass ' instead of a song, as I don't sing that I know 
of. So home." 

" Dec. 2m. 

" Made up my ' part ' of Bomhastes, marking it, 
highly useful for I only know some of it. He ought to 
be very grave. . . . We 4 went at \ past 9 to Grafton 

Street. A great gathering. Crowd, the big room, a fine 
one, being reserved for supper. At 11 .30 ' Bombastes 
Furioso ! ' 

Artaxominous (King of Utopia) . . Kate 
Fusbos (Minister of State) . . . . Bella 

General Bombastes . . . . . . S. B. 

Attendants or Courtiers 

Army — a short Drummer, a long Fifer Cecil (and) 

G. Crowe 
Distaffina . . . . . . . . Jenny 

It was so hot. We had no green room, but huddled 
behind a curtain. Got through somehow. Read the 
' Jabberwock,' which I think puzzled sundry. Intro- 
duced some other gag. All went merrily, and the 
Baitemen were delighted." 

So ended the year 1871, with Shirley as General 
Bombastes hanging up his boots on a tree with the 
label : — 

" Who dares this pair of boots displace 
Must meet Bombastes face to face." 

504 



"BOMBASTES FURIOSO " 

In comes the King, his hated rival, Miss Kate 
Bateman, and cuts down the boots. Shirley " kills " 
Miss Kate Bateman. Miss Bella Bateman, as Fusbos, 
" kills " Shirley. After which the dead men rise one 
by one, join the dance, and promise, if the audience 
likes, " to die again to-morrow." 



505 



CHAPTER XIX 

1872 and 1873 — A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries — Letters to 
jMiss Matthews and G. du Maurier — Harrogate and the Rev. John 
Oakley — Serious Illness of Reginald — Letters to the Rev. John 
Oakley, Mrs. Hardman, Miss Kate Fergusson and Percival 
Leigh— Visit to Gadshill— Copyright Reform— Prize-Giving at the 
International College — Folkestone and Brighton Visits — Death 
of Landseer — " A Birthday Acrostic " to Miss Kate Fergusson — 
" A Breeze " with the Management of the Illustrated London 
News — The Last New Year's Eve Festivities. 




ERE again[1872] the diary, 
in common with so many 
of its predecessors, is 
missing, and we must 
once more depend mainly 
on such letters as have 
come to hand for the 
record of this, the last 
year but one, of Shirley's 
life. Fortunately, the 
period is rich in gossipy 
letters, chiefly written 
to Miss ("Torie") 
Matthews. On Jan. 16th 
he' writes : — 



506 



ABRAHAM HAYWARD 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

" Do you get the Quarterly Review from your Cir- 
culating ? There is an amusing article full of anecdote 
on Sir Henry Holland's* book, clearly by Hayward, 
which his name is ' Abraham,' but they say if you ever 
address him so, he never answers ; if you say * A ' he 
answers in a week, and if you say ' Alfred/ he sends 
up answer by special messenger. 

" He who has the honour of addressing you has 
himself the honour of being a Fellow of the Society of 
Antiquaries ! — he was elected last Thursday — he may 
now sign S. B., F.S.A. But he postpones being proud 
until he shall have attended a meeting, and have been 
embraced by my Lord Stanhope in a ' Cocked Hat.' 
Then indeed he will ' strike the stars with his sublime 
head.' Do you think that the fact of the Ed. of the 
H. News having attained this glory entitles him to call 
on the proprietors! to give a banquet at the ' Albion ' ? 
if so the project shall be brought forward. It seems 
a national event rather ! 

" I took Cecil to the Abbey yesterday. It was just 
the day to see it. The sun lighted up the coloured 
windows and made the most beautiful vista of the 
aisles. I know nothing like the Abbey when you can 
see it, and that roof of Henry VI I' s Chapel is simply 
divine. But, of course, being a London thing, it's 
beneath the notice of people who rave about Notre 
Dame, etc. — which reminds me of what Canning wrote 
about Pitt and Addington : — 

" ' Pitt is to Addington 

What London is to Paddington.' " 



* " Recollections " of his past life. 

f Of whom Miss Matthews's father was one. 

507 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 
Ditto to Ditto. 

"Feb. \2th, 1872. 

" Mrs. Brooks has been very unwell. I want her 
to go away to Torquay, where friends keep asking her 
to come, but there is the Thanksgiving Procession * 
to see. By the way, this will, of course, be a mull as 
usual. They ought to have all the Bishops in their 
white robes walking, singing ' Come to my arms my 
Beamish Boy,' and swinging censers. Have you seen 
the translation of that noble poem into German ? 
I send it that you may learn it by heart. See here ! 
A bookseller received an order to send two books to a 
customer. This is the way they were described : — 

'"1. Mill, on Liberty. 
2. Ditto on the Floss.' 

" Do you remember Byron says that Murray showed 
him an order from some country agent — 'The 'Harold* 
and ' Cookery ' much in demand ! 

"We saw 'Pygmalion and Galatea 'f on Friday. 
It is the best thing for years, but the badness of 
English actors is frightfully displayed. Except Madge 

Robertson there is nothing good, and Miss 

ought to be burned with fire. Still it is the piece of 
the time. See it, if you have not done so, but I dare 
say that you have, for I never, somehow, go to a play 
until it has run for months. I fancy Sothern will be 
very savage at not coming back in May. It is certain 
that except in Dundreary he never drew largely 
in London, but he made heaps of money in the 
provinces." 

* The Thanksgiving Service for the recovery of the Prince of 
Wales took place on February 27th. 

t By [Sir] W. S. Gilbert, first produced Dec. 9th, 1871. Miss 
Madge Robertson (Mrs. Kendal) played Galatea. 

508 



THE LADY AND THE GRINDSTONE 
S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

" Palm Sunday {March 24th), 1872. 

" My dear Torie, 

" From what I hear of your sermon to-day, I think 
that this sort of woman would meet Mr. H.'s approval. 
She reads the papers, and she acts vigorously. 

" ' Proper Precautions. — An old lady read a para- 
graph in one of the papers the other day, describing 
how a grindstone burst in a saw factory, and killed four 
men. She happened to remember that there was 
a small grindstone down in her cellar leaning against 
the wall ; so she went out and got an accident insurance 
poUcy, and then, summoning her servant, and holding 
a pipeboard in front of her, so that if the thing exploded 
her face would not be injured, she had the stone taken 
out into the road, where 24 buckets of water were 
thrown over it, and a stick was stuck in the hole, 
bearing a placard marked " Dangerous." She says it 
is a mercy the whole house was not blown to pieces by 
the thing before this.' 

" But what I want to say is this. We are invited 
... on the 17th, and I want to know whether you are 
asked. Also which young lady is going to be wedded 
and to whom ? I suppose it is Miss Ingram. But 
give me any enlightenment you can, and in reward 
here is another Americanism for you : — 

" A New York paper has issued the following ' first 
warning ' : * We caution four black cats that are 
continually serenading in the back shed that there 
is a sausage shop two doors to the right.' 

" What did you do yesterday ? Nothing, I suppose, 
and I helped you. I think it was the vilest day I ever 
saw. Charles Reade, in the Observer, simply and 
dehberately ' curses 'it. He also uses ' excitive,' 
which is a word, but not the one he should have used, 

509 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

and lastly he speaks of ' Hemiplegia,' which means 
a palsy that afflicts one-half the body, and which, 
therefore, I should think would disqualify a man for 
rowing. 

" This is my last : — 

" ' LATEST FROM NEWGATE. 
" * No fools are found the Wagga-vvock to bail ; 
So he who lied in Court still lies in Gaol.' * 

" I had — have indeed, written some nonsense about 
Hot Cross buns, and given a recipe for making them 
less nasty. But I nearly escaped a hideous peril. 
I had suggested devilling them. Imagine Devilling 
a Hot Cross bun. As soon as it was on paper I saw my 
profanity, and tore it up. I have advised anchovies, 
which are not wicked, I believe, though most people 
who like them are. 

" Shall I allude to Mr. Haweis's discourse, the part 
recommending ladies to read the Summary, and say 
that he meant the ' Essence ' ? Which, by the way, 
is uncommonly good this week, that is, it is full of 
quotations, one of them * Yankee Doodle ' in Latin : — 

" * To town came Doodle with 
Little horse and cudgel 
He adorned with a plume his hat, 
And said " Macaroni." 

" ' Ad urbem ivit Doodlius cum 
Caballo et calone, 
Ornavit plumd pileum 
Et dixit " Macaroni." f 

* The claimant was lodged in Newgate on March 7th to be tried 
for perjury, and on April 26th he was released on bail. So Shirley 
was rather premature. 

t This referred to the " indirect claims " made by the United 
States for enormous pecuniary compensation in the Alabama case. 
Not only did they ask for ordinary " damages," but also for " the 

510 



L.S.B. 

" Macaroni means, as I need not tell you, 
* dandyfied ' — see ' School for Scandal.' 
" ' Were ever beheld such beautiful ponies, 

Other horses are clowns, but these, macaronies.' 

" Most people think the edible is referred to. ' How 
blest are we that are not simple.' 

" Here's a day. If it had been Uke this yesterday ! 
My opinion is that it was intended to give us weather 
for yesterday, but the Clerk (who is married to the 
Daughter of the Winds, and therefore not beset with 
offers of wedlock) forgot Leap Year. Yet he ought to 
keep an almanac, the ' Vox Stellarum,' for instance. 

" Next Sabbath's Picture Sunday, and . . . 
" Enter Hawes (a servant). 

"H. ' Miss Matthews and Mr. Matthews are in the 
drawing-room, Sir.' (Letter abandoned.) 

'' S. 'I come: " 

S. B. TO George du Maurier. 

" Good Friday {wet), 1872. 

{March 29th.) 

" KiKi, MY Dear, 

" There now ! That's all you get by having 
yourself printed in great red letters, and stuck on every 
hoarding. Such is our judicious backing of our Jew ! 

Parson 2,251 



Atheist 

Hebrew 

Son of a dyer 



1,038 
526 
15* 



Were you one of the Hampstead 34 ? I was one of 

natural loss incurred through the transfer of much of the American 
Commercial Marine to the British flag, the enhancement of insur- 
ance, the prolongation of the war, the addition of a large sum to the 
cost of the war and the suppression of the rebellion ! " These 
outrageous claims were unhesitatingly rejected by the arbitrators. 
* For the London School Board. 

511 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

the Marrowbone 223. I got, and I suppose you got, 
a note saying that success was certain if those who 
promised would poll early. I got wet in polHng early. 
Kuss everybody. Catch me believing in a seducious 
Dixon any more. I am going to upbraid him, but not 
on Good Friday. When I made my mark X on the 
ballot paper, I asked a Dissenting friend whether 
putting that against a Jew's name would not violate 
the election. He fainted. 

" ' Wanted, a good Plain Cook, in a gentleman's 
family ; washing put out. Wages £16 a year, and all 
found, including season ticket to the Crystal Palace, 
and half-holiday on Saturdays. Address, C. H. R., 
Post Office, Croydon.' 

Show this advertisement to Mrs. du Maurier. I wonder 
whether 'tis genuine, or a sarcasm. 

" This is a good day for the poor holiday makers. 
Very well, serve 'em right. Let them go to church, 
and read improving works in the afternoon. Are you 
going a Picture round on Sunday ? If so, we may 
meet, but I won't go if the weather keeps like this, 
mind that. 

" My wife and son went to see Fechter last night. 
Such a had house. Palpably, il ne dessine pas. Do 
you dine chez Sir H. Thompson on Sunday ? I am 
asked. I believe many of the guests are to be actors. 
I hope John Hare will be one. He is almost the only 
actor we have. . . . This is the hottest day we have 
had this year, so says the thermometer. It is depress- 
ing. That's why this note is all little scraps. I am 
not equal to a sentence. 

" If you could draw hke the artist whose work 
I enclose it would be worth your while to take some 
lessons from one of the Academy Kallithumpkins. . . . 

" Ever yours, 

" S. B." 
512 



THE CORPSE'S COUSINS 
S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

" April 9th, 1872. 

**.... The days are gone when 

" * Barons o'er three counties galloped 
The Hall's fair partner to behold 
And humbly hope she caught no cold.' 

But we may send a note to make the same enquiry, 
and hope none of you caught any. That wind all night 
was keen and the walk to the carriage venturesome 
for the lightly clad. 

" Which runs fastest, heat or cold ? 

" Heat, of course, because anybody can catch cold ! 

" This is rather queer. The master of ceremonies 
at a recent St. Louis funeral announced, * The corpse's 
cousins will now come forward.' Talking of corpses, 
I suppose that house in Park Lane must be some kind 
of a lodging-house. I did not know that there were 
any such places there. The name at No. 13 is Theo- 
philus Keene. I have written to Charles Keene to 
know whether he had anything to do with the murder. 
I do not much think that he had, but artists are 
eccentric. He has, however, much good sense, and if 
he did it had no doubt good reasons. Don't you like 
his cut enclosed ? The legend is not much, but the 
picture itself is very pretty. 

" I have a good note from Frank Burnand, who says 
he has written a long and capital letter to somebody, 
but it can't go, because to direct it involves looking 
into the directory for an address, and the book is at 
the other end of the room. But he hopes in a few days 
to be equal to the exertion. He is all but well again, 
but had a relapse. He says he is gradually making his 
way from Torquay to Sussex, but as his next place is 
Launceston, I don't understand his theory of progression, 
vide map. 

513 

34— (a297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" You asked me about some poetry. Is Campbell's 
' Last Man ' over the heads of your pupils ? Hardly, if 
* Lycidas * isn't. And the ' Last Man ' is, I think, as fine 
as anything in the language. I never think it much 
matters about a child fully comprehending a thing 
at the time. It will gradually dawn upon him or her, 
and the sensation will be one for which gratitude 
should be felt. Like a woman discovering new and 
good qualities in a husband whom she has taken only 
because she liked him. Not that women often make 
such discoveries, or, if they do, they are not generous 
enough to declare them. 

" Did I ever show you a poem I wrote some years 
back, called the ' White Spotted Horse ' ? It is very 
beautiful. So is the day, only I put my thermometer 
in the window, and the sun has burst it, and sent the 
red liquor over my blind. This would make a good 
poem, only I can't think of any ideas, and sun isn't 
a good rhyme to thermometer." 

Ditto to Ditto. 

" 22nd April, 72. 

" My dear Torie, 

" This is curious : — 

" ' A Castle Burnt Down. 
" * Two Lives Lost. 
" ' Early yesterday mornings Derry Castle, the mag- 
nificent residence of Mr. Wilham Spaight, situated upon 
the shores of Lough Dergh, near Killaloe, was burned 
to the ground last night. Two persons were burned to 
death in the fire.' 
" This is more so : — 

" ' Mysterious Affair in Bradford. 
" ' Alleged Confession of Murder Nine Years Ago. 
" ' A few days ago a well-known individual died 

514 



A TRAP FOR LEWIS CARROLL 

in a village not far from Bradford, and a short time 
subsequent to his death made a confession, in which he 
stated that upwards of nine years ago he, in company 
with two men, waylaid and robbed James Lawson, then 
a cork-cutter in Bradford.' 

"... So you invaded a lot of exhibitions on 
Saturday. The crowd at what are called private views 
is a dreadful bore, or I should go oftener. Do you 
notice the prices Gillott's pictures are fetching ? For 
that ' Dolly Varden ' that sold for one hundred 
guineas, Frith got, I think, he said last night, £15. 
To be sure this was many years ago. But there are 
some which have reached mad prices. I wish I had 
been an artist — I suppose it is too late to begin now 
I should never be anything better than a mere 
Academician. 

" I laid a trap in last week's ' Essence ' about Dodson 
and ' Alice in Wonderland.' The author has walked 
into it, and writes to Tenniel to say that he should be 
glad if the error were not corrected, as he does not 
wish his name known ! ' How blest are we that are 
not simple men.'* 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

Ditto to Ditto. 

" May 5th, 1872. 
"... We went to ' Money 'f last night. We had 
seats in the front row of the stalls, close to the lights. 
So we were rather hotter than Wimpole Street, as 

♦ In the " Essence of Parliament " for April 20th, 1872, Brooks 
had mischievously fathered " Alice in Wonderland " and " The 
Jabberwock " on Mr. Dodson, the then Chairman of Committees, 
who was afterwards created Lord Monkbretton, ignorant of, or 
ignoring the fact that the real author spelt his name with a " g." 

t By (Lord) Lytton. 

515 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

described by the Reverend Haweis.* However, we 
had lobster and champagne for supper soon after. The 
play, which I saw on its first night (I keep no medieval 
secrets) in Dec, 1840, was played very well in Prince 
of Wales's fashion, that is, gracefully but without the 
force which the old actors gave to high comedy. Now, 
as the sentimental part is weak, it suffered from the 
want of Macready's grim energy, and Helen Faucit'sf 
earnest passion. But it pleased folks and everybody 
was called, Coghlan specially, who looked a very sweet 
young man, pretty to behold. Therefore, I hated him, 
for I was sweet and pretty to behold in 1840, and am 
neither in 1872. ' Bless ' it, I'll do the sum, I will— 

1872 

1840 



32 Thirty-two. 

That's looking one's misfortunes in the face — staring 
them out of countenance, I may say. But Lord 
Lytton has been getting on also. He was in a box. 
He had a star on. They called him, but he had too 
much sense to play Voltaire, who let himself be crowned 
in a theatre in his old age. To-morrow we dine at 
Mivart's ; J he is a great scientific. Tuesday is the 
funeral of my dear old friend, Horace Mayhew. I said 
I would never go to another, except one, but I must go 
on Tuesday. You may like to see what I have tried 
to say about him. The world, as Thackeray has said, 
must go on the same, funerals notwithstanding, and 
we must eat and drink and do business, but we shall 

♦ The Rev. H. R. Haweis alluding to Gehenna had described it 
as a pit outside Jerusalem, about the length and breadth of Wimpole 
Street. 

t I-^dy Martin. 

X St. George Mivart, the well-known biologist. 

516 



"PONNY'S" DEATH 

have no P. dinners this week, but the cartoon producers 
will meet at the ' Bedford' and dine on Tuesday evening. 
Wednesday the Literary Fund. 

" Extract from a county newspaper : — 

" 'At — , North-East Cornwall, yesterday, Mr. John 
Uglow, a farmer in good circumstances, committed 
suicide just before attending the funeral of his mother.' 

" Wasn't it thoughtful of him to do it first, and then 
attend the funeral with nothing on his mind ? 

"'The Opera Comique ' business was a sort of success, 
I take it, but I can't quite make out the truth till I see 
John Oxenford's* notice — not that he tells the truth 
to the Philistines, 'tis too precious an article to throw 
away, but those who can ' read between the lines ' 
know what John thinks. 

" There was a huge crush at the Private View on 
Friday, but the rooms are spacious and there was not 
anything disagreeable, except meeting a good many 
persons whom one dislikes. But then we met a great 
many whom I don't much dislike, not being myself 
of the mind I heard Keeley profess once, 

" * I hate most people and dislike all the rest.' 
The criticisms, so far as I have seen, are poorly written 
this year. The Daily News is as bad as any picture 
in the show, and that's saying a great deal." 

This was Shirley's graceful and heartfelt tribute to his 
old friend : — 

" Horace Mayhew. 
** Obiit April 30th, 1872. 

" With a very deep sorrow we record the loss of 
another old friend and colleague. Horace Mayhew 
has been unexpectedly called away. Associated with 
this periodical from nearly its earliest days, he was 
for years an indefatigable and valued contributor, and 

* For a quarter-of-a-century dramatic critic to the Times. 

517 • 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

when fortune had rendered him independent of labour, 
he continued to share our counsels, and he never abated 
his earnest interest in our work. This testimonial is 
easy. But when we would speak of the manly sim- 
plicity and childlike affection of his nature, of his 
indomitable cheerfulness, of his ready generosity, and 
of his singular sweetness of temper, we can write only 
what must seem to those who knew him not, in excess 
of the truth, while it fails to do justice to our own 
knowledge of a beloved friend. But in the affectionate 
memories of us all his worth and lovingness will be 
treasured while memory remains to us. Heavy is the 
grief that has fallen on those who lived in friendship 
with the kind, the just, the gentle 'Ponny Mayhew.' "* 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

"August nth, 1872. 

"... Parliament is up, thank Thor and Woden, 
and the stopper is in the ' Essence ' Bottle. 

" We dined with Mrs. Charles Keanf last night, 
Queensborough Terrace. It was a renewal of an old 
friendship — that is, as regards me : I used to be inti- 
mate, but have not been to her house for many years. 
She is 67 and wears wonderfully. They have Cardinal 
W^olsey's hat, and a beautiful dagger of Henry Eighth 
from Strawberry Hill. I should Uke the dagger, it is 
crusted with jewellery ; and a snuff-box, goldenish, 
given by Lord Byron to Edmund Kean. 

" I am asked to dine at the Club to-morrow, to meet 
Stanley, who discovered Livingstone, and I feel in- 
clined to go. I suppose I ought. But I have nearly 

* An unintentional caricature-portrait of Mayhew is to be found 
in Sir John Tenniel's representation of " The White Knight " in 
" Ahce in Wonderland." 

I Mrs. Charles Kean (Ellen Tree) had retired from the stage on 
her husband's death in 1868. She died in 1880. 

518 



THOMAS CARLYLE 

got into the Gallic stage about a good many things 
that people are enthusiastic over. Not that I think 
this a good state of mind, but there is the fact. I do 
not know the living man whom I would walk five miles 
to see. One man is very like another, especially the 
other. 

" They won't let Babies into the British Museum. 
Somebody sends me a suggestion that they ought to 
be let into the Mummy department." 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" \2th August, 1872. 

" My dear Leigh, 

" You will like to know that I have a very pleasant 
note from a lady, ' Mary Carlyle Aitken,' who writes 
that Carlyle is very much pleased with the proof of 
' our good- will to him.' He would have written him- 
self, but his hand shakes, and writing is difficult and 
unpleasant to him. I am glad that he has been 
gratified. I said, in sending your verses, that it was 
due to him ' that he should see them before they were 
given to the public, and that though it would be absurd 
to suppose that he could be gratified with any tribute, 
it would afford honourable pleasure to thousands.' 
Which I take to have been the becoming way of doing 
the thing, and the result shows that he thought so too.* 
" It will be a very good Almanac. Some admirable 
pictures. For all your ^valuable aid, much thanks. 
But you, and all of you, do make my work as pleasant 
as it can be, and, outside, everybody tells proprietors, 
etc., how good we are. 

" Ever yours, 
" P. L., Esq." " S. B. 

♦ Vide " A Birthday in December," Pimch, Dec. 14th, 1872, 
p. 252. Certainly Carlyle was easily pleased, for the verses are 
dreadfully poor. 

519 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

In September Shirley was again undergoing a " cure " 
at Harrogate. Amongst those with whom he fore- 
gathered on this occasion were the Rev. John Oakley, 
then Vicar of St. Saviour's, Hoxton, afterwards Dean 
of Manchester, and his sister. When later Mrs. 
Brooks joined the party she told Miss Oakley that it 
was the only time she had seen her husband drawn 
to a clergyman. In this case the acquaintanceship 
ripened into intimacy, Mr. Oakley being attracted by 
Shirley's genial and pleasant companionship, and 
Shirley by Mr. Oakley's robust common sense. Here 
are my friend, Miss Oakley's, recollections of Shirley 
at this time : — 

" In appearance Mr. S. Brooks, as I remember him 
in 1872, was almost exactly like the photo of him in his 
* Wit and Humour,' published in 1875, only he looked 
a little older with a few streaks of grey (photo was 
probably taken a few years before), but the luminous 
brown eyes and full hps are very life-like. He was 
very genial and sociable and a most interesting talker — 
could be grave as well as gay, and equally welcome in the 
drawing-room as the smoking-room. In the evenings 
he was generally in the former, and always ready to 
talk, declining to join the elderly rubbers, indeed said 
he could not understand how anyone could want to play 
games when they could talk. He seemed very busy 
most of the day, and had large parcels from the Punch 
Office to go through weekly — and chiefly consign to 
the waste-paper basket, he told us ! He was fond of 
asking questions, such as, ' If you were to be cast on 
a desert island with only three books, which three 
would you wish them to be ? ' His own choice, I 
remember he said, would include a prayer-book instead 

520 



CLERGYMEN 

of a Bible, which would be the usual vote, and he must 
have a copy of ' Rabelais.' His third, I am sorry to say, 
I have quite forgotten. He was careful to tell us that 
though ^ Rabelais ' had always been much to him, he did 
not advise us ladies to study him ! " 

Notwithstanding Mrs. Brooks's surprise at her 
husband's friendship with Mr. Oakley, it is nevertheless 
a fact that he was on very good terms with several 
other divines, from Dean Hole downwards. Indeed, 
he was rather fond of saying in his cynical, humorous 
way that he had several reverend friends, whose 
friendship he valued too much ever to go and hear 
them preach ! High Anglicanism he did not love at all. 
" Turks put off their shoes on entering a church," he 
one day said apropos of certain Ritualistic practices 
of which he professed to disapprove, " and some 
Christian folks put off their understandings." Not 
that Shirley's opinion on such matters was of any 
value whatever. Indeed, as likely as not, it was not his 
opinion, and he may merely have been seizing the 
opportunity, inveterate jester that he was, of making 
a not very clever play upon words. 

From Harrogate he writes : — 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

" The Gr.'Vnby Hotel, 
" Harrogate, 
" Sept. 25th, 1872. 

"... We have vile weather. I am driven to a 
private room and a fire, and I work a little to prevent 
an influx of the cerulean demons. It is rather aggra- 
vating not to be able to get about. I had a good 

521 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

8-mile walk on Sunday, but since that locomotion has 
been impossible. ' Marry good air,' as Justice Swallow 
says, but I prefer marrying sunshine. People have 
some fatuous idea that things will be better after the 
equinox, but I don't know why. 

" The newspaper is a valuable civilizer, but it is not 
always rigidly accurate, e.g., touching a performance 
at a so-called theatre last night : ' There was an 
excellent audience, the notabilities including Mr. Frith, 
R.A., Mr. Shirley Brooks, Editor of Punch, and Mr. 
Geo. ElUs, M.P.' ' Mr. Frith ' is in Dorsetshire, 
' Mr. Brooks ' did not leave the hotel, there is no such 
person as ' Mr. G. Ellis, M.P.', but Mr. G. Elhott, who 
is not an M.P. Such are the materials for history of 
eminent personages. 

" To the wrath of the proprietors of the hotels here, 
some of which are very handsome, the local authorities 
have ordered that they shall all exhibit sign boards. 
Our spirited little hostess here is all afire. I advised 
her to return the notice, scoring across it * Matthew 
xii, V. 39,'* and I think she will." 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

" 8ih of Dec, 72. 

"... Some Bishop said, * Temper is nine-tenths of 
Christianity.' But what Bishop ? If it's true I have 
been an awful bad Christian this week, having been 
into nine-and-twenty distinct and separate rages. But 
it was not my fault. People have been so stupid. The 
Almanac is not done, but I think Wednesday will see 
it out of my hands, and the time it has taken will be 
deducted from the time in purgatory, if accounts are 
at all fairly kept by Mr. Sterne's angels and his clerks." 

* " An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign ; and 
there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas." 

522 



BRIMSTONE BETTER THAN MUD 

That is the record of 1872, wanting the diary which 
may or may not be in existence. 

Fortunately the diary for 1873, the last complete 
year of Shirley's life, has come to hand, and, with the 
letters, affords a very complete history of his last 
activities. 

Here are a few of the names casually mentioned 
in passages which do not call for extended quotation : — 

St. John Mivart ; Holman Hunt ; Dean Hole : 
[" who urges me to collect my miscellanea "] ; Frances 
P. Cobbe : ["so fat and merry, but a strong-minded 
woman "] ; German Reed : [" asked me to dine with 
him and Anderson, the actor — not too lively an idea, 
but we'll see "] ; Haweis : ['* who had sent me a 
pamphlet about unfermented sacramental wine "] ; 
Charles Knight : [" a good man who did very good 
work ; it is an honour to have been his friend "] ; 
Mrs. Bateman : [" who says the weather makes her 
not afraid of death, for brimstone, to which she knows 
she ought to go, is not so bad as mud ;"] ; Leland : 
[" who told someone, who told Shirley Brooks, that he 
considered him (S. B.) the most agreeable man he had 
met in England "] ; Val Prinsep : [" who told me the 
reporter sent to see his (swine) picture had never heard 
of the * Gaderenes,' and made him spell the word "] ; 
Burnand : [" read his new story in Macmillan, ' My 
Time ' — I like it and wrote and told him so "] ; Edmund 
Yates : ["to whom I have hitherto given a wide berth, 
as I think he owes me some acknowledgment for 
making use of my H(ouse) of C(ommons) article in the 
Qiuarterly) R{eview) for his most successful lecture "] ; 
some Americans : [" how clever and yet how ignorant 
these Yankees are ! "] ; Palgrave Simpson : [" who 
has been hurting himself by a fall in a Swiss mountain. 

523 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

He might neglect mountains at 70 "] ; Mrs. Keeley : 
[" wondrous young "] ; Henry de Bathe : [" whose 
handsome face is becoming Irish "] ; Mrs. Henry 
Wood : [" whose twaddle is that of a monthly nurse "] ; 
the Crowdys : [" who hold high place in my regard "] ; 
the Matthews : ["to whose house I would rather go 
than anywhere "] ; Charles Keene : [" who now works 
in a house with 3 other artists, and they have no 
servant, but an old ' char ' cleans them out — very 
little, I daresay "] ; Leslie Stephen : [" like Master 
Stephen (Ben Johnson) and affects a melancholy "]. 

As in other chapters, I shall here leave Shirley as far 
as possible to tell his own story, only adding such 
explanatory notes to his diary and letters as seem 
necessary for a generation to which the events of the 
" seventies " — to some of us but the events of yesterday 
— read like mediaeval or ancient history. 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

" Jan. 3rd, 1873. 

"... I have been reading my story in London 
Society. It is not so stupid as I had thought. But 
/ was main stupid when I was writing it, having a bad 
cold. 'Twill pass and there was twenty guineas very 
easily earned. John Leech told me a story apropos of 
earning. In his youth he made a woodcut in an hour, 
took it out and sold it for a guinea. * Now, John,' 
said his mother, ' you see your way to comfort and 
affluence. That took you an hour, and you got a 
guinea ; you ought to work eight hours a day, that's 
8 guineas, or 48 guineas a week, my dear, for I would 
have you rest on the Sabbath.' 

" Did you see the Times notice yesterday of the 
old Masters ? Tom Taylor contradicted me at the 

524 



"SATURDAY REVIEW'S" IMPERTINENCE 

show, about which of the Miss Keppels* married Lord 
Tavistock, and died of a broken heart for his broken 
neck. And he put his own story with his notice saying, 
' Lady Carohne's story is a sad one,' etc., but I went to 
my Walpole and not only found one of his own notes 
saying it was Lady EUzabeth, but in a letter ' Lord 
Tavistock has thrown the handkerchief to Elizabeth 
Keppel, and they marry on Tuesday.' So I sent him 
the verification. It is not of the slightest consequence 
in this world or as you would say in the other, but I do 
know my Walpole. I shall go and post this, I've got 
Scudamoref to bring the pillar post over from the 
Alpha Road to our Terrace-end. I spex the Alpha- 
betians are in a heinous rage, but they're a low lot 
and it serves them right." 

Ditto to Ditto. 

"Is/ Sunday in 1873. 
"... The Saturday Review has been impertinent 
two or three times, so I have, this week, been inspired 
or aggravated to order him into the flogging-room. 
I think I have laid on the birch with some emphasis, 
and I have done it in a picture that everybody may 
see it. For in an old French book about discipline in 
convents I remember reading, * When you whip,' said 
the holy man, ' do it well and for some time.' What's 
good for nuns may be good for monks like the clerical 
humbugs of the S. R. They were specially violent 
about the ' Pocket- Book.' + 

* Sir Joshua Reynolds's portrait of Lady Elizabeth Keppel as 
one of the Royal bridesmaids. Lord Tavistock was killed out 
hunting. 

t Frank Ives Scudamore, at that time second Secretary of the 
Post Office. 

t The picture was drawn by Mr. W. Ralston, and represented 
father and son at the club. The legend ran : — 

" Pater. ' Ernest, a word. You were in turns deplorably dull 

525 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Anthony TroUope was one of the guests last night. 
He roars more than ever since AustraUa. He was 
exceedingly jolly and Billy Russell was opposite to him, 
so they fired away good stories. When they were at 
cards we heard Anthony's thunder, and then a wild 
Banshee cry from the Irishman, till we threatened 
them with the police. Then Anthony said we were 
conventional tyrants, and Russell said in a weeping 
voice that Ireland was accustomed to be trampled on." 

" Jan. 4th. (Diary.) 

" Trollope most laudatory of me (to me privately) 
touching my verses and the like, and urgent that I should 
* proclaim ' myself much more. 'Tis not my way, but 
the advice was good." 

" Jan. 8ih. 

" Proofs, I.L.N. The new series of my notes to be 
called * By the Way.' This is a trifle, about which 
I care nought. We dined again at B. St. Small 
party. W. Agnew, W. B., F. S., Kiki, Sambourne, 
J. T., S. B., and hard work to get a cut — at last I hit 
on one which was much approved, but it is the deuce 
and all to have no helpers — told W. B. so, and that the 
dinner was really useless.* 



and vulgarly flippant at dinner last night. My dear boy, you 
grieved me. Surely you had not been taking — no you could not 
be so — how was it ? ' 

" Filius. ' My dear father, it shall never happen again. I am 
heartily sorry. Drinking ? No. The fact is, I had looked in here, 

and the only paper disengaged — it always is — was the S y 

Review. I read too much of it. I am quite ashamed.' 

" {They shake hands and exeunt.)" 

* This need not, I think, be taken too seriously. There is no 
question, indeed it is obvious from a dozen extracts given, that 
Shirley much valued the co-operation of his colleagues. 

526 



WAS LOUIS NAPOLEON A VILLAIN ? 

" Jan. 9th. 

" To-day is marked by an event, namely the Death 
OF THE Emperor Napoleon. He had undergone two 
operations, and was supposed to be going on well. 
But he suddenly succumbed, and expired at n.45 a.m. 
We heard the street newspaper men bawling about 4, 
and E. bought the Globe, and brought me the news. 
I was writing the H.N. in the above sense, and had 
to reconstruct my article. I need not here make any 
remark, having printed all I had to say. Wrote 
T. Taylor to give me a few verses. I hope he will do 
them well. I think I saw the Emperor only once, at 
the Opera, from Arcedekne's box, on the State visit. 
But I have seen him in Paris. 

" ' They shall not say I have not had the crown : 
I was not fool as well as villain.' 

Villain, however, he was not. But he knew the 
French, and said that " they could be ridden only with 
spurs." But as he grew old, his life told on him, and 
on his head. However, it was not he who brought on 
the war that prostrated France." 

" Jan. lOth. 

" Wrote a lot of small things for Punch — these are 
valuable, as lightening it, and I wish I could find 
somebody else with a facile pen to do them for me." 

"Jan. lUh. 

" Editing. Somewhat exercised with T. T.'s verses 
on the Emperor, but succeeded in smoothing them.* 
He has capital ideas, and words, but a bad ear. . . . 

"... The Rev. asks me for a ' big box ' for 

* Vide Punch, Jan. 18th. p. 23. 

527 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

a pantomime for his choir ! MM. the priests are cool 
— in this world. Wrote him next day that I could 
not do it." 

" Jan. \5th. 

" When I got to my P. letters at the office, found 
a very nice letter from Rego, dated 9th (in an envelope 
of my own direction), asking me about his going to 
Oxford, and representing that the expense would be 
only some £50 more than at present. He submits to 
my \vish, but urges his own to go. I ought to have 
had this on Saturday, but it had not come up to my 
leaving. I had therefore written him twice without 
reference to it. Wrote, next day, as kindly as I could, 
and ' saying I had promised he should go to Oxford, 
that I never willingly broke my promise to any of 
' my 3,' that I thought it good for him to go, that I 
never thought of expense when his and C.'s welfare 
was concerned, that all I could give them was a first- 
rate education, and that if I had health and strength, 
he should go through the University. Also I suggested 
his looking to his pen and style as means to an end." 

" Jan. 2\st. 

" At 7 to Raleigh Club, to d. with Christie. The 
new premises are capital, and he has a delightful 
lodgment up aloft. A good little dinner and one 
magnum of excellent champagne. Then upstairs for 
smoke and chat, and altogether as agreeable an evening 
as I have had lately. This club is much addicted to 
gambling — at a game they call pool ecarte, heaps of gold 
pass, and a man was utterly cleaned out the other day 
and had to retire. The committee try to light this, 
but the men are rebellious and want to turn out the 
committee and have one ' more in accordance with the 
spirit of the club.' I saw so many pleasant looking 
young fellows about that I was sorry to hear of this — 

528 



CECIL'S SIMPLICITY OF SELFISHNESS 

old club cynics may squander and plunder one 
another to their hearts' content." 

" Jan. Q^d. 

"Heard of a dreadful thing last night at 11 — an 
emigrant ship for Australia, the Northfleet, lying at 
anchor off Dungeness, was cut down by a steamer, 
which then went off without offering aid, and some 
300 were drowned, as was the Captain, Knowles, who 
behaved nobly.* A fearful scene of fight for boats, 
not hke that Birkenhead, in Feb., 1852, of which I can 
never speak without proud tears in my eyes." 

" Jan. 24th. 

" Cecil does not approve of the proposed visit to 
him [at school], ' as it will spoil the excitement of the 
autumn.' There is a simplicity of selfishness here 
which almost atones for itself." 

In January bad news had been received from Heidel- 
berg, where Reginald was now studying, and Mrs. 
Brooks had hurried off to her son's bedside. Every 
page of the diary breathes of distress and anxiety. 
Every day Shirley holds himself in readiness to join her. 

On Feb. 1st he writes : — 

" Home, to find a sad letter from E., who has con- 
sulted Prof. Freidreich, who says * Mentone ' and at 
once. I dare not think what this seems to mean. 
E. begs me not to give way, but to * keep strong for all 
their sakes.' I shall set down very little about feelings 
— no chance of forgetting them, but, for a moment only, 
passing from him I tremble for her. Thanked Rosie 
for her children's prayers." 

* The steamer which left the sinking ship was the Spanish vessel, 
Murillo. She was captured near Dover in the following September, 
and condemned by the Court of Admiralty to be sold. 

529 

35— (-Jig;) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Feb. 5th. 

'' A note from E. when I got home. She thinks of 
a halt at Geneva, and I think the plan a good one. 
' Prays, and will not believe that one so good and clever 
and young should be taken.' No, and I told her next 
day to drive away such thoughts ' as Abraham did the 
birds.' On this I heard Waldo Sibthorpe preach at 
S. John's, Bedford Row, I suppose 35 years ago. 
(Bread on the waters.)" 

By degrees the bulletins grew better, but Shirley's 
nerves were on edge. 

" Got what the women call a ' turn,' a four-wheeled 
cab drove up, with a load of luggage, and a small gloved 
hand indicated to the man that he had gone too far — 
to No. 7 — and he was to turn. I wish it had been hers 
—that's all." 

After two months of loneliness he writes : — 

" Dismally dull, but I have now news of a cheerful 
sort. D.G." 

And four days later : — 

" Went to bed ; read ; and was putting out light, 
when there was a knock at my door, and the next 
moment Emily and Rego were at my bedside. They 
had decided on coming by Folkestone, and had sent 
telegram to Alderman to get supper. She had taken 
herself out and Wilson did not bring the telegram to 
me, all most vexing. Up in 5 minutes, and down, and 
Torie's eggs made them something of a supper. Too 
late to get aught else, and so we sat till 1, and Rego 
and I had a cigar together. He looks well, and has 
grown very handsome and manly, but poor dear E. is 

530 



ANXIETY FOR REGINALD 

quite knocked up, and painfully afflicted otherwise. 
But that we'll hope to set right. I did thank God for 
their safe arrival." 

S. B. TO Rev. John Oakley. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

"Feb. nth, 1873. 

" My dear Mr. Oakley, 

" Your note of to-day has just been delivered to 
me. Alas, we have been in trouble. I will not say 
that we are, for I hope that we have turned all corners. 
My elder boy, about 17, was at Heidelberg, preparing 
for Oxford, and about 3 weeks ago his mother was 
telegraphed for, in consequence of his dangerous 
illness. She went off, one horrible Sunday morning, in 
the dark and rain, and has been with him ever since. 
He is out of all danger, but eminent doctors have 
ordered him south, and south the two are going. 
I heard from Mrs. Brooks this morning, from Basle, 
on her way to Mentone with him, via Geneva. When 
she will return, I know not. It was so clearly a duty 
to go, and equally so is it a duty to stay with him, that 
I cannot say a word, and I am too grateful for his 
escape to say one, but my house is left unto me 
desolate. 

" Had things been different, we should have enjoyed 
coming to your Carnival, and have heartily thanked 
you for the opportunity. But, as they are, I am not 
in any case for being happy, or trying to make anybody 
else so, and I must reluctantly ask you to let me 
decline an invitation I should have otherwise have 
gladly accepted. 

" I also greatly regret that my wife's absence will 
deprive her of the pleasure of making Mrs. Oakley's 
acquaintance, but this is, I trust, only a pleasure 

531 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

postponed. I much regret not to hear a better account 
of your father. 

" Will you remember me very kindly to Miss Oakley 
and 

*' Believe me very faithfully yours, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" Qninqtiagesima Sunday, 

" Feb. 23rd, 1873. 

" My dear Leigh, 

" Will you kindly take up the subject of the 
under -payment of our excellent Police Magistrates, and 
give me J or | of a column on it ? I think, considering 
the work they do, that they are unjustly treated, and 
the salaries were fixed 35 years ago by Sir R. Peel, 
Joe Hume, and others, and £1,200 a year, less Income 
Tax in 1873, is a very different thing from £1 ,200 a year 
and no such tax in 1830. They keep London quiet 
for us at an annual cost considerably under £20,000 ; 
they ought at least to be paid as well as County Court 
judges, and if a magistrate does his work conscientiously 
(as they certainly do) he is able or inclined to do 
nothing else. They may not, indeed, practise.* 

" Here is the letter from my old friend (whose wife 
admired Lord Melbourne,) and I think it is just a case 
for your irony. I know the magistrates like Punch, 
and I would gladly do them a good and just turn. 
False economy is the vice of the day. 

" Ever your affectionate 

" Editor. 
" P. Leigh, Esq." 

* This resulted in " Our Great Underpaid," Punch, March 15th, 
p. 105. 

532 



UNDERPAYMENT OF POLICE MAGISTRATES 

S. B. TO Mrs. (Lady) Hardman. 

"6 Tanais Terrace, 

" Siberia, 
"25th Feb., 73. 

" My dear Mrs. Hardman, 

" Many thanks for your kind invitation. But 
alas ! 

" ' The (Jewish) Sabbath smiles no hoHday for 'im.' 

Saturday evening is one on which I am doomed to the 
kuss of labour up to 8 o'clock. I am obliged to debar 
myself (like Edwin James*) from all pleasures until 
I have seen P. safely thro' the printers' hands. 

" But why talk we of hospitalities — hospitals is the 
word for the time. Is not this weather horrid ? 
" ' Lo, where Masotis sleeps, and hardly flows 
The freezing Tanais thro' a waste of snows." 

(his favourite lines, by the way, they say). If we were 
wise we should shut aU our shutters, and not look 
out any more till somebody came to say that the 
primroses were about. I got forth to dine yesterday — 
no vehicles here — but I put on a huge pair of shooting 
boots (not that I shoot) and stamped away thro' the 
snow. Rather a good effect was caused by my chang- 
ing boots in the hall, while ladies came in, and looked 
on admiringly. 

" I have a letter dated Friday — still from Geneva, 
but I suppose my swallows flying south are at Turin 
by this time. Reginald is doing very well indeed, 
thank you much. I am a hermit, and am getting 
into the habit of not speaking — I shall be distinguished 
when the Scandinavian end of the world comes, and 
the ' Dynasty of Silence ' shall be estabhshed. Kindest 
regards to my brother editor. I was out somewhere 
last week, and met one of his slaves of the lamp — I 

* Edwin James had been debarred for unprofessional conduct. 

533 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

think he was called a green baker or thereabouts — 
a very agreeable man. .. ^^^^ ^^^^^ faithfully, 

" Mrs. Hardman." " ^"'^^"^^ B''°°'^^- 

But during these two months of separation he had 
of course been hard at work, and life had gone on, as 
life has to go on, as though there are no tragedies nor 
anxieties below the surface. 
"Feb. \Oth. 

" Charles Reade has sued the Advertiser for calling 
* Shilly Shally ' (his play on Trollope's novel) indecent, 
and has got £200. He had a chance, and used it, of 
saying some hard and true things about the critics. 
One, the Times man, of course not Oxenford, he called 
a ' little scrub,' and he had a pleasant word for Clement 
Scott." 
" Feb. \m. 

" Dined at H(eather) Biggs, a curious and pleasant 
party. It was made for Miss Florence Lees, an 
interesting young lady, just arrived. She has given 
herself to the Miss Nightingale sort of work, and was 
with the German ambulances in the War, is something 
in the same way at Havre, and is going to America 
to study their nursing system. Yet, as I told her, she 
seems just the woman to do nursing of another kind 
and be very happy. If H. W. were handsome and 
clever, she would be somewhat like this girl. Took her 
down — by the way, she has pretty eyes. Said she had 
wanted to meet me. Had seen an autograph letter of 
mine to some child, with bad spelling and small * i's ' — 
I don't know what this could be. Inclined to swear 
eternal friendship with her, but didn't." 
" March 3rd. 

" Alderman* has broken the little coloured glass bell 
* The maid. 

534 



"FUN" VERSUS "PUNCH" 

that stood on sideboard. I don't think it was of much 
account, but, on matter of principle, I stormed. 
Considering I myself smashed a gas-globe in my bed- 
room the other night, I suppose one ought to be 
merciful, but it won't do." 

" March 4th. 

" Papers choked with opening of debate on the Bill 
for turning Irish clowns into undergraduates.* I wish 
they were turned into swine, who should run 
violently, etc." 
" March 5th. 

" We had unusually hard work to shape the cut, 
which we had resolved should be about Phmsoll and 
the shipowners who send rotten ships to sea for the 
sake of assurance. The difficulty was that in Fu7t 
there was a coarse and brutal thing on the subject, 
which Tenniel thought debarred him from using a 
skeleton, wanted by us. I should have utterly ignored 
the rubbish, and T. would have effaced it by his own 
cut, but as he had a feeling about it we were obliged 
to invent a sentimental treatment. Not altogether 
satisfied, but I daresay he'll do a good thing, f Drank 
Kiki his b.d. to-morrow." 
" March Sth. 

'* Wrote Kiki a kindly meant note on his b.-d., and 

* The Irish Education Bill. Gladstone was eventually beaten 
by three in a House of 571. 

f The result was not very satisfactory, and Fun for once scored 
off its venerable rival. Plimsoll had startled the country by 
declaring that out of the 2,700 hves lost at sea annually by the 
Mercantile Marine, four-fifths were needlessly thrown away. He 
found cases of seamen sentenced to prison because they refused to 
sail in crazy ships which, when they put to sea, never touched a port 
but went down in mid-ocean. Eventually, through his exertions, 
though not without violent opposition, the Merchant Shipping Bill 
was passed. 

535 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

told him that his talents had been much vindicated 
this year, through what had seemed a discouragement 
(I meant his being obliged to draw large, and have the 
work reduced, for the wood, by photography) — I think 
he'll be pleased — he is sensitive, but very affectionate — 
why hut ? Well, easily put out — yet we have never 
had a disagreeable word. I remember, before he 
regularly joined, M. L. gave him something of mine to 
illustrate, a ' relic clock,' some Papist tomfoolery of 
the Q. of Spain, I think, and I thought the idea frittered 
in the picture, and had some of the detail cut out. 
M. L. said he was * cocky.' As a young fellow with 
brain should be. I hate your Blifils. He got my 
letter in the evening, and instantly returned a 
picture of himself, holding the said letter, and pointing 
to a likeness of me, in his heart, inscribed ' Cor Cordium ' 
and below ' Enshrined.' " 
" March 1th. 

" Lord Chamberlain has stopped a piece at the 
' Court ' Theatre, by Labouchere, in which Gladstone, 
Lowe and Ayrton are introduced. . . . (Later it was 
sanctioned, but with emasculation.) . . . ♦ 

" Mr. G., my Irish contributor, had called, and 
graciously announced his intention to call again at 
10.30. Wanted my weed, or would have gone to bed. 
He did not come till 1 1 , but to make up, he stayed till 
past 12 — I gave him liquid, of course. And all he 
wanted was to know whether he should write something 
furious about the Lord Chamberlain's ' tyranny * 
above mentioned. This means that he is in a public 
office, and the manager of the ' Court ' is in another, so 
I suppose there's camaraderie. However, I would 
have none of that, but was very civil to him ; rather 
liked him." 

* I think Shirley must have been referring to " The Happy Lord," 
which was not by Mr. Labouchere, but by Robert Reece. 

336 



TOOLE'S DELIGHTFUL TOMFOOLERY 

" March \5th. 

" Whitefriars. After work, went to morning per- 
formance at the Gaiety. It was to see Toole, in a piece 
in which he introduces real and mock juggling. Utter 
tomfoolery, but some of it made me roar, from its 
absolute idiotcy, as when he blows out a candle, and 
begs the spectators not to regard this as a common 
feat, for it has been the study of a life. He saw me, 
and in the course of the business he produced from a hat 
a copy of Punch, which he must have sent for, and 
presented it. ' This may have interest for you, Sir.' 
I felt like a great boy all thro', but I don't know why 
one shouldn't laugh. 

"... Note, never be in a hurry to abuse a person 
for stupidity. I blew up an apparently stupid, but 
really good and willing boy at the hotel, and then 
learnt from Liz that he is deaf. I must make it up to 
him ; luckily there is one way of doing this with the 
lower order. But remember, however. 

" Got new Bankers' book. The old one, which has 
been in use since May, 1867, shows credit to about 
£8,600, but I have earned much that did not go thro' 
G.'s. New one does not open with a balance, but 
there is one, besides much due to me elsewhere, so 
that's not worth noting. D.G." 

S. B. TO George du Maurier. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 
" S. Patrick's Day in the afternoon, 
" [March llth), 1873. 

" My dear Kiki, 

" I don't write to ask for news, because I know 
that if there were any I should have heard. ' Then,' 
says you, ' what do you write for ? ' Well, just to say 

537 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

I trust all is going on as well as can be in the circum- 
stances. And also to say that I think your ' kitten 
cut ' is one of the very best you have ever done. 
I have shown it to a few of the judgmatical sort, and 
they are enthusiastic. Whether C. K. is equally 
enchanted with his portrait, has to be heard — he ought 
to be.* 

" I suppose we shall hardly see you on Wednesday, 
unless — . Your health, and that of your entire house- 
hold, actual and possible, were duly remembered last 
dinner, and will be again. 

" I dined last night at Triibner's, to meet Leland 
et ux, on their return from Cairo. He told many 
stories, but for quiet fun, of the American sort, I think 
this good. A man out in some black State used to 
come among his friends, every morning, in a fresh 
rage, about some grievance or scandal of 40 years back, 
and this he talked about all day, a new one coming on 
the next. It turned out that he had found a lot of his 
father's old diaries, and every night worked himself 
up with narratives the old man had compiled years 
and years back. 'Tis an odd notion that only an 
American would have thought of. I don't know that 
it may even seem funny to you, but I fancy I see it 
worked out by an actor like poor Jeffreson. 

" I've now had no news since Tuesday, but it is not 
impossible that my folks may have gone to Rome. 
I circular-noted them with the means, should they 
be so inchned, and Florence, whence they last wrote, 
is no great railway distance. 

" I actually went to see Toole in his farce of mock 
magic, on Saturday afternoon. I was near, and in the 
course of performance he pulled a Punch out of an 

* Vide " Scenes of Club Life," Punch, March 22nd, p. 117, with 
an excellent portrait of Keene in the right-hand corner. 

538 



CHARLES KINGSLEY 

empty hat, and handed it to me. ' This may have 
interest for you, Sir/ he said respectfully and gravely. 
'Tis wild fooling, but I laughed ; he blew out a candle, 
and then begged the audience not to regard this as 
a common feat, ' it had been the study of a life.' 
" Kindest regards to Mrs. du Maurier. 

" Ever yours, 
" Kiki, Esq." •' S. B. 

" March 25th. (Diary.) 

" To Crowdy's to d. to meet, first time, Canon 
Kingsley ; very delightful — very like Gladstone. His 
stammer not much at dinner, but in the evening when 
he naturally sought to speak more eagerly, it was 
marked. Says he has made himself a voice — speaks 
from his lower depths, and holds his upper lip tightly 
down, working with the under one — so does the 
Bishop of Winchester. Has abandoned his pretty 
house at Eversley, and gone to Harrow, where a son 
is at school. ... I was going about 11 but as he 
could not go to his train till near 12, he told me ' not, 
on the first meeting, to lower myself in his opinion by 
keeping good hours.' So I stayed, and smoked more. 
He is always smoking a pipe, he says. He knows 
Trinidad well, and seemed to know the name of 
Walkinshaw." 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

" 5th April, 1873. 
"... I saw Wills (Charles I) last night. He is 
rehearsing ' Eugene Aram ! ' I don't like the subject 
and told him not to expect another great success. 
To sweeten this, I made him a present of a long- 
cherished idea of mine for a play, and it pleased him 
much. I don't think he had ever heard of the man. 
However, I told him where to get information. It is 
John Law, the picturesque Scot, duelhst, lady killer, 

539 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

financier, exile, who turned the heads of the Parisians and 
was expelled in 1720. There's a love story connected 
with it. Just the thing for Irving, if done properly. 
** I have to-day received a written proposal that 
I should go to America and lecture. Am promised a 
' lucrative ' engagement." 

A fortnight later he went to the Lyceum first-night 
of Wills' s play and wrote to Miss Matthews : — 

"... * Eugene Aram ' is beautifully mounted. First 
scene charming, Irving acts very finely. But 'tis no 
play. There is scarcely a situation — he is all and 
everything. Except to watch his really fine art I don't 
want to see it again. There were the usual noises at 
the end, but during the piece there was very little 
applause. Wills can't write a play if form means 
anything. Irving was black-balled at the ' Garrick ' 
yesterday. I did not know that he was coming up 
or would have been there to do my possible to prevent 
this. It is a mistake and bad taste. ' We are too 
many actors,' I hear some of the prigs say. Why, the 
Club was specially intended to give respectable actors 
admission to good social hfe. I shall say my say the 
first opportunity and not very mildly." 

S. B. TO Miss Fergusson.* 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 
" Good Friday [April Wth), 1873. 

" My dear Kate, 

" (But, being Scottish, you don't know what 
Good Friday means. Never mind.) I send you the 
photograph you are good enough to wish for, and you 

* Daughter of the celebrated surgeon, Sir WiUiam Fergusson, 
Bart. 

540 



"WE PAMPER WOMEN TOO MUCH" 

should have had it sooner, but that I had mislaid the 

packet, and have discovered it to-day only, after 

a resolute search. The likeness is hardly pensive and 

melancholy enough, but 'tis the best we have. I have 

stuck on a signature, but you can easily take it off 

if you do not like it. 

" I did not meet you, as I had hoped to do, at any 

of the studios. But in truth I did not go to many, for 

now that the Academy gives us a real private view, 

a great deal of trouble and non-candour is saved. 

Frith' s. Ward's, Elmore's, Ansdell's, Marks' s, O' Neil's, 

were about all I went to. Sir Edwin will have two 

pictures in, painted a good while ago, of course.* 

Elmore has an ' Eve ' whom I like muchly. 
* * * * 

"... A celebrated artist made me laugh last 
night. We were dining at Sir C. Taylor's, who gives 
one of the best dinners (round table, small party, no 
bores) going, and the artist had his mouth full of pate 
de foie gras, and was just putting a glass of lovely still 
champagne to his lips when he paused to say, in answer 

to something, ' I tell you we all pamper women a ( ) 

deal too much.' Then he drank, and winked because 
the wine was so good. I won't tell you who it was, 
because I won't set you against him. . . . 

" Did I ever tell you a rhyme that has occurred to 
me (it was Thackeray's) in reference to a recent death ? 

" ' This is the Countess Guiccioli, 

Who admired Lord Byron habitually.' 

"So no more at present from 

" Yours ever faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks. 
" Miss K. H. Fergusson." 

* Landseer, who died in the following October, had been too ill 
to paint for some time. 

541 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" April nth. 

" Was called on by Mr. Redpath and Mr. Nast, 
Americans.* Told them I could not go to America, 
having no man to me what I was to M. Lemon, but some 
day I hoped to do so. R. said I should be very well 
received, and that my name was very well known. 
Told me E. Y. had been a failure as a lecturer, and that 
my lecture f had been the one ' that held him up.' " 

" April 2\st. 

*' Miss Emily Leith has helped me into a mull. She 
sent me some things of her own some time back, and 
with them some very good nonsense verses in MS., 
which I also took to be hers, but which she says she 
told me were copied. If she did, I overlooked the 
statement, and having touched them up, used them 
this week, as they fitted a cut of Sambourne's. Such 
things will happen, but I don't do them often, usually 
eschewing outsiders." 

" April 26th. 

" I inserted some verse sent me by Emily Leith, 
overlooking her distinct statement that she had copied 
them. So down come letters from Gilbert, who wrote 
them in Fun 10 years ago, Tom Hood and Burnand. 
Made the amende and wrote Gilbert. Mea culpa, and 
nobody else's. J 

* Asking him to go on a lecturing tour in America. 
•f Edmund Yates's lecture, fashioned out of Shirley's Quarterly 
Review article without Shirley's sanction. 

X Vide Punch, Apuil 26th, p. 176. The first verse ran : — 
" Sing for the garish eye, 

When the moonless brandhngs cling ! 
Let the froddering crooner cry , 

And the braddled sapster sing, 

542 



AN EDITORIAL BUNGLE 

S. B. TO Miss Fergusson. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 
" 2<dth April, 1873. 

" My dear Kate, 

" I am much too proud of the beautiful cap to 
express my feeUngs properly as yet, but I hope to do 
so when we meet, and when I have toned myself down 
a little. When we laughed about presents, at that 
deUghtful dinner at your house, I certainly never 
thought seriously of inviting you to take so much 
trouble, but the cap is so charming that I quite forgive 
myself. My household esteem me much more highly 
than they did, and I bear myself haughtily. All 
thanks to you. 

"... Do you see that Macready is gone ? * 80. He 
retired in 1851, so I suppose that you never saw him — 
he was hardly the actor that a very young child would 
be taken to see — (I assume the possibility only 
because you told me a date.) But ask Sir William 
about him, and his Macbeth. Curiously, I meant to 
see him play Richard III , which he seldom did, but 
this performance was fixed for one of my birthdays 
years and years back, and my mother had a dinner in 
my honour, so I could not go. But that night Macready 



For, never and never again 

Will the tottering beechlings play, 
For bratticed wrackers are singing aloud, 
And the throngers croon in May ! " 
Fortunately the verses had been given flattering prominence on 
their own merit, and this fact doubtless made it the easier for 
[Sir]W. S. Gilbert to forgive when Punch hastened in his next number 
to confess " Blunderavi." 
♦ He died April 27th. 

543 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

was so enraged with Alfred Bunn, the manager of 
Drury Lane, for letting him play only 3 acts, and those 
the weakest, that after the curtain fell, he ran into 
Bunn's room, and knocked him over, chair and all. 
I think he had to pay ;f 100 or so for this levity. I used 
to meet him at C. Dickens's. He was the best tragedian 
I ever saw, and yet far from being all one wanted. 

" It seems a trifle warmer to-day, but the cowl on 
my chimney howls, I suppose in indignation at the 
E. wind. I have been howling at it for a month or 
more, but it does no good. 

" Believe me, my dear Kate, 

" Yours most faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks. 
" Miss Kate Fergusson." 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

" 29th April, 1873. 
"... Do you see that Macready died on Sunday ? 
I think I saw him in all his great parts. His power was 
tremendous — his delivery people differed about — he 
liked to speak his syllables in a detached way, yet he 
could be very musical at times as in Prospero, but 
I must write some recollections of him, so I will not 
give you fractional instalments." 

Ditto to Ditto. 

" May 4th, 1873. 

" .... I fear the * Hamlet ' is a mess. I could 
not go, having to attend Committee at ' Garrick ' to see 
that Tenniel was elected, as, of course, he instantly was, 
but I never run a risk where a friend is concerned. 
I hear Hamlet himself was very bad. What idiotic 
speeches they made at the Academy dinner. Even 
Granville, who is usually happy, broke into rubbish 
under the influence of the circumambient drivel. 
However, the speeches are good enough for the show." 

544 



PROTEST AGAINST STAGE INDECENCIES 

" May 3rd. (Diary.) 

" Committee ' G.'* We had some talk, in reference 
to certain blackballing, and most of us thought that 
we owed it to one another to give a hint when a black- 
ball was deserved. Trollope thought not, and in 
strictness he is right, but we ought to be able to be 
confidential. When Tenniel's name was read, there 
was a general cry that we ' did not need to hear any- 
thing about him.' He was, of course, unanimously 
elected. Wrote and told him." 

On May 7th the following letter appeared in the 
Times over the transparent initials K. T. R. P, : — 
" ' Vox Parentis.' 
" To the Editor of the Times. 

" Sir, — Your theatrical critic writes thoughtfully, 
and as becomes a gentleman, and therefore I ask leave 
to offer a word in answer to his deftly turned sarcasm 
on those who think it ' wicked ' to go to a ' theatre.' 
May I vindicate my own common sense by saying that 
an adequate performance of one of the great plays of 
Shakespeare, or of another true dramatist, is an 
intellectual pleasure which I am most glad, when 
permitted, to take in company with my children ? 
But I happen to be one of the people called Christians, 
and I am also in possession of the use of my eyes. 
I see in every picture-shop window photographs which 
show me the real ' attractions ' of the ' theatres,' and 
I see in the managerial puffs the names of the originals 
of the photographs. Also, Sir, I have witnessed several 
of the performances in which these persons exhibit 
themselves, and I do not know whether the eye is more 
offended at the elaborate indecency than the ear is 
insulted by the vulgar elocution. Such representations 

* Garrick Club. 

.545 

36— (2297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

are artistically as much beneath contempt as morally 
suggestive of compassion for the performers, not to 
speak of some indignation that educated and responsible 
people should sanction such exhibitions. Therefore, 
I refuse to take my children to a ' theatre ' while it is 
a shop for the display of ignorance and immorality. 
To this definition there are two or three exceptions, 
which I am happy to recognize, and I only wish that 
at the exceptional establishments the literary standard 
were higher. I, for one, am very grateful to Mr. Tom 
Taylor for his effort in favour of the nobler drama, 
and I wish him all success. Your critic (if I may again 
remark on his article) appears to me to have judged 
Saturday's performance* most fairly, but it was im- 
possible not to see that over-fatigue and nervousness 
were hindering several of the actors. 

" Your obedient servant, 

" May Uhr " ^- ^' ^- ^- 

" ]une \st. 

" Mrs. Ross Church said that the spirit of W. M. 
Thackeray had appeared to her, and told her not to 
work too hard. If we remember things of this world, 
elsewhere, I should like to ask him about this, but we 
shall, I trust, have better things to discuss." 

" June Qth. 

" This came into my head, but certainly with no 
cynical feeling, as I was going to bed to-night. 
" Cynical Thought. 

" A Man is never so Old in the outside world as he[^is 
made to feel when in the bosom of his family." 

" June 9th. 

" Wrote Low that Punch was going to d. at the 

Alexandra, and that I would report on the cuisine. 
________ 

546 



BURNING OF ALEXANDRA PALACE 

But — I'homme propose — this day, just before one, a 
beast of a plumber set fire to the Alexandra Palace, and 
in a very short time it was utterly destroyed. Bad 
supply of water. Am rather sorry I did not go and 
see the place. It is to be rebuilt, we are told." 

" June lOth. 

" Papers, of course, full of the Alexandra catastrophe. 
Just the same carelessness that nearly destroyed 
Canterbury Cathedral. The lower orders are raging 
at the present Master and Servant law, which lets the 
latter be imprisoned, as he has no money. But I think 
that in a case of brutal carelessness, like the two above 
cases, the offence should be felony. There would be 
fewer fires if a sullen, stupid ruffian or so were sent 
to penal servitude." 

"June nth. 

" Great trouble over cut, as it has to be about the 
Shah.* A new actress is coming out ; she is a mistress 

of the artist. T. T. declares there has been nothing 

like her since Siddons, but he is lavish in praise of those 
he likes. Not educated. And as she is a Magdalen, 
only not repentant, she will not be taken into drawing- 
rooms and made a fool of, like some of 'em. Called 
for E. at Mrs. Y.'s. Mrs. Boucicault said I was looking 
quite young. This is the only humbug good with men 
who know they are old." 

" June mth. 

" Rain in the night. Day of the Persian Shah's 
arrival — one hears his name till one is ready to d. 

* The Shah had been entertained lavishly at St. Petersburg, before 
coming to London, and was supposed to be wavering between 
Russia and England. Sir John Tenniel's cartoon, " Fehne Friends," 
was a highly successful representation of the position of affairs, full 
of suggestion and at the same time a dehghtful decoration of the 
page. 

547 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

him.* Very gloomy, indeed, while I write, 11 a.m. 
But things improved. He came, and had sunshine 
until he reached London, but when he came out at 
Charing Cross, the rain descended in a flood. The 
great guns of the ships seemed to have roared nobly. 
I went into town at 2.30, and to Covent Garden Opera, 
where I laid out a guinea for a front seat for Emily 
in the Floral Hall on Saturday. She takes so much 
interest in him that if the price had been five I should 
have paid it — for my own part I do not suppose I shall 
see him at all." 

" June 2\st. 

" Left at 4 and to ' Bedford.' The Shah was to go 
to C. G., and the ' Shakespeare ' f gave beauteously on the 
door of the Floral Hall. I take it that I should not 
have had the room, for there were many friends of the 
family at other windows, but that they thought soldiers 
would line the way from the carriages to the door, and 
nothing would be seen. However, the police cleared 
away the mob, and there was no lining. A mounted 
peeler's horse fell with him, and Dr. Vine brought him 
into the 'Shakespeare' — a fine fellow — I hope not much 
hurt, but he complained of his head. Afterwards 
Albert Macklin and I stood at the window, saw the 
humours of the mob, were kind to an old lady who had 
no business there, but we let her stand on the sill, and 
we saw all the people — Princes, Princesses, Czarevitch, 
and ultimately Nassr-ed-Din. That is, he passed, of 
course, before my eyes, but I was attending to some- 
thing else, and the vision made no impression. I may 
say I did not see him. Very soon after came Emily 
and Mr. Matthews — her place had been a good one, 

* Those who remember the catchword of the day, " Have you 
seen the Shah ? " will sympathize with Shirley, 
f The " Shakespeare " Room at the " Bedford." 

548 



'' HAVE YOU SEEN THE SHAH ? '* 

and she had seen all the sight, and had been there, the 
great thing with women, who are too honest to say 
they have when they haven't." 

" June 25th. 

" Whitefriars. Small party. We had to do a 

conventional cut about the Shah — we were slow at it, 

and I suggested one at last, but did not much like it.* 

It will happen, sometimes, that I am not inventive 

and T. is not receptive, but we understand one another, 

and things get right in the end. Health of new volume. 

Preface very much liked, except by the author. 
* * * * 

" W. H. B. had been dining at Dilke's, and heard 
that there are three publicans on the jury, who are not 
Hkely to find Orton guilty. I hope this is a canard. 
The Advertiser, the publican organ, backs the beast up." 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 
" June I6th, 1873. 
" S. Fargeau (who was this saint ?). 

" My dear Leigh, 

" It is very kind of you to take so much thought 
for me, and you will not be surprised to hear that my 
wife thanks you for your letter even more heartily 
than I do, if possible. She suggests that you may 
like to see Dr. Quain's prescription, which therefore 
I enclose. It was not written for me, but for a lady 

* " More Cry Than Wool." Punch compares the lavish sum spent 
over entertaining the Shah at the Mansion House with the beggarly 
sum collected on Hospital Sunday, first established this year. 
Shirley, of course, found an adaptable Hne from Shakespeare, 
" They will not give a doit to relieve a lame beggar, they will lay 
out ten to see (a live Persian)" ; in the original, of course, " a dead 
Indian." 

549 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

whose trouble he ascribed to wind and ' enlarged ' 
(I think) liver. Hence the fol. argent, a delicacy the 
Doctors don't think of in my case. 

" I dined ' with bishops and archbishops and all the 
company of Heaven ' on Saturday. The dinner was 
beautiful, and we had plenty of elbow room, and that 
admirable waiting, by assiduous but not bustling 
menials, which the City understands. The speaking 
was not particularly good (how could it be ?), but the 
Primate made a good retort about Zadkiel. But the 
speech, high comedy, was Dr. Wilberforce's, which is 
not reported. 

" This weather feels like summer, though it does 
not look like it. But after Saturday the days begin to 
shorten again ! 

" I say ! We quite forgot, when making the Cat, 
that the young Russian Bear is to be here with the Cat ! 
We shall be charged with inhospitality. Mea culpa, 
but I don't feel much afflicted.* 

" Do you know how to estimate the difference 
between the Farhenhiet (spelt wrong) and Reaumur 
thermometers ? A lady has brought me a very pretty 
paper-weight from Salzburg, with a thermometer 
inserted, but of course with the R. scale. But, I 
suppose I can find out in the Cyclopaedia. Don't take 
any trouble. 

" I suppose we shall meet at the 4.8 train on 
Wednesday, unless you go by the river. 

" Ever, my dear Leigh, 
" Yours faithfully, 

"S. B. 
" P. L., Esq." 

♦ In the cartoon, " Feline Friends," the Russian Bear is repre- 
sented chained to a rock and raging at the friendship of the British 
Lion and the Persian Cat. 

550 



A SCRIPTURAL MISTAKE 

" June 30th. 

" Heard from Kiki whom I had chaffed about a 
blunder touching Pharaoh's daughter hiding Moses 
(with a stick, see cut), but he sends me Lord 
WharncUffe's letter, showing that he made the 
mistake."* 

" July 1st. 

" Got out a good strong Church cut — my invention 
and my title, the latter much admired." f 

" July 6th. (Staying at Gadshill with Charles Dickens, the younger.) 

" C. D. drove us to Cobham, where I had never been. 
First, church, and curious almshouse quadrangle — 
then to the Park, and E., I, and Marley were to walk 
across, and be picked up at the other side. M. said she 
knew the way, and C. said that if she did not she 
deserved to be smacked. We went off, and the walk 
was lovely — glorious trees, fine old Elizabethan house. 
Hideous mausoleum — never consecrated J Then, at 
the next turning, it was made clear that poor M. 
deserved the said smacking. We went wrong. She 

* Pharaoh's daughter, of course, found Moses. Fortunately, 
Shirley was just in time and Moses's mother was substituted : — 

" Uncle. ' Now, how did the Mother of Moses hide him ? ' 

" Niece. ' With a stick. Uncle.' " 

—Punch, July 5th, 1873. 

f The title was " The ' Liberation ' Society," and the cartoon 
represented the two Archbishops considering the petition of 480 
Church of England priests in favour of Auricular Confession, whilst 
they trample under foot an Anti-Ritualistic rejoinder. Edward 
Miall, the editor of the Nonconformist, loquitur, 

" Delighted, your Graces, to find you so earnestly co-operating 
with me for the destruction of the State Church ! ! " 

I Louis Napoleon's burial place. His remains were afterwards 
removed to Farnborough. 

551 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

did all she could, and ran about heroically. At length 
we got out by Wright's farm, but no carriage. Then 
I was in a way, for my brevity of breath cut me like 
a knife. The ladies walked on in search of carriage, 
and I lingered, walked a little, suffered a deal, and was 
enraged with everything, especially a d. dove that 
would coo when I was ready to kuss — parodied Burns 
* How can ye coo, ye cursed doo, When I'm so hot, and 
scarce can swear.' Finally, the carriage came up, they 
had waited a long while, and then supposed we had 
gone to Strood. Home and a welcome glass of sherry. 
D. at 6. Soon got right, but this brevity is distressing." 

" July 12th. 

" Whitefriars. Mrs. Church* there. After their 
business, I brought her upstairs, gave her sherry, and 
she stayed an hour talking about spiritualism. It is 
odd — here is a spirited, clever woman of business, who 
says she and her children incessantly talk to spirits, 
with some of whom they are on terms of banter, 
specially wdth one called ' Charley.' I asked her to 
let me have an interview, quietly, with only herself 
and girls, and she promises this, and offers to try and 
get me a familiar all for myself." 

" July 15th. 

" Got at a cut about the Duke of Edinburgh's 
marriage — I suggested the fiddle and the verse." f 



* Florence Marry at, the novelist. 

•j* " The Old, Old Tune — Prince Alfred would a- wooing go ! 

" There came a fiddler here to play, 
And O, but he was jimp and gay, 
He stole the lassie's heart away. 
And made it all his ain, O," 

Referring, of course, to the Duke's excellent violin-playing. 

552 



AN UNSEEMLY WRANGLE IN THE " LORDS ^' 

" July 23rd. 

" Thought of a good Pope couplet, in case anyone 
should be too gushing about the Bishop — * 

" ' And nobly wild, with Budgell'sf fire and force, 
Paint angels trembling round his falling horse.' 

Sent it to Crowdy. On Monday night the Lords did 
not have much about the Bishop or Lord Westbury, 
being eager for a fray between two of the descendants 
of Charles IFs mistresses, la Ouerouaille and Nell 
Gwynn, D. of Richmond and D. of S. Albans."} 

" July 25th. 

" A man called L. has called several times. After 
other efforts to see me, he wrote, and is evidently 
cracked — says I am spying upon him and using his 
ideas for Punch. Wrote him that I never heard of him, 
but if he'll put his grievance into writing, I will refer 
it to my solicitor." 

* Bishop Wilberforce had been killed by a fall from his horse on 
the preceding Saturday, and the ex-Lord Chancellor had died on 
the Sunday. 

f Eustace Budgell, a kinsman of Addison's, who could be as 
unctuous as he usually was cynical. 

I The Duke of St. Albans, the descendant of Nell Gwynn and 
Charles II, had recently rather indiscreetly referred in an after- 
dinner speech to the fact that the Queen had been educated, politic- 
ally, by Lord Melbourne, and expressed satisfaction that Her 
Majesty had always been a Liberal. The Duke of Richmond, the 
descendant of Louise de la Querouaille and the same monarch, had 
hauled his distant " relative " over the coals for this, demanding 
what he meant by claiming the Queen as a political partisan. The 
Duke of St. Albans thereupon replied with some spirit, quoting an 
anecdote about a fool. " The Duke of Richmond left it to their 
lordships to decide whether he were a Fool or not," says the 
" Essence of Parliament," " but no division was taken upon this 
question ! " Altogether the wrangle was a very unseemly one and 
did not redound to the dignity of the House of Lords. 

553 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" July 21th. 

" A piece called the ' Marble Maiden ' being an- 
nounced, my diary helped me to a date which I sent 
to the Era critic, Blanchard, and to-day this was the 
result : — 

" * The author is Mr. G. M. Lay ton, for whose grati- 
fication, or the reverse, we may say that he has not hit 
upon an original title, seeing that a little piece from the 
pen of Mr. J. H. Stocqueler, called ' The Marble 
Maiden,' was produced at the Lyceum by the Keeleys, 
in 1846, for the dehut of the late Miss Laidlaw.' " 

About this time I find Shirley Brooks supporting 
John HoUingshead in his agitation for Copyright 
Reform as affecting the Right of Stage Representation 
of novels — a reform which justice demanded then, just 
as justice demands it now, but which seems as far off 
realization as ever. That a stranger may take my 
novel, and throw it into dramatic form, however 
roughly, is a scandal as crying to-day as it was thirty 
years ago, and we who have written fiction will echo 
what Shirley Brooks wrote to HoUingshead : " That 
dramatization question ... is one that ought to be 
taken up by all of us." The nature of the scandal 
may be better appreciated if we take the case of Miss 
Braddon, who at that early date had written twenty- 
four novels, of which many had been dramatized but 
from which she had never received a pennyworth of 
pecuniary advantage ; or of Wilkie Collins, who wrote : 
" My ' Poor Miss Finch ' has been dramatized (without 
asking my permission) by some obscure idiot in the 
country. I have been asked to dramatize it but have 
refused because my experience tells me that the book 

554 



"ANYBODY COULD BE MORAL '^ 

is eminently unfit for stage purposes. What I refuse 
to do with my own work, another man (unknown in 
Literature) is perfectly free to do against my will, and 
(if he can get his rubbish played) to the prejudice of 
my novel and reputation." 

On July 21st Shirley went down to give the prizes 
away at Isleworth, of which place the Rev. Derwent 
Coleridge was at that time rector. 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

" July 22nd, 1873. 

" Yesterday was a broil, but I got over my work 
pretty well, and having previously ' crammed ' a bit 
from ' Agathos ' (the late Bishop's book) I was able 
to bring in an allusion to him with some success. But 
the real pleasure of the day (except ice) was to meet 
the Rev. Dr. Coleridge. This is the ' Derwent ' of his 
father's poems ; he is now an elderly clergyman, very 
agreeable. He moved the thanks to me. It is a sort 
of link with the old days. 

" Last night I took up ' Pendennis,' and I could not 
lay it down ; sat reading it till midnight. I am not 
sure that for delicate work it is not better than 
' V. Fair.' And what delightful English he wrote ! 
He knew this and was proud and said that Dickens 
might be a greater * moralist,' but that he was the 
best grammarian, and ' anybody could be moral ! ' " 

Ditto to Ditto. 

" Aug. 3rd, 1873. 
" Read the announcement of * Manfred ' (Princess's) 
in Era advertisements. I saw it years ago. One 
Denvil was brought out in it but he was a duffer, and 
Vandenhoff afterwards took the part. The piece was 
beautifully got up as regards scenery, and there was 

555 



SHIRLEY BROOKE 

a scene amid the mountains when the Witch of the Alps 
(Ellen Tree*) appeared and a wonderful rainbow was 
thrown upon her white dress. We thought it very 
fine then^ but electric light has come since. Denvil 
couldn't understand his text. He, speaking of Heaven, 
said, ' Where thou art not, and I shall never be,' and 
of course should have apostrophized the soul of the 
woman he had * slain,' but he addressed the words 
to a fat chamois-hunter, John Cooper, who, it was 
particularly plain, was not in Heaven, or likely to get 
there without a lift." 

" August 5th. (Diary.) 

" Parliament prorogued, and an odd thing. No 
special boat having been provided to bring the Com- 
mission from Osborne, the Houses were kept about 
two hours. But the papers issued the speech, and 
I believe I read it to E. before Lord Selborne read it to 
the Parliament. People to whom it was telegraphed, 
and most buyers of evening papers read it long before 
spoken, and in America it was read 9 hours before." 

" August 8th. 

" Wrote Punch, that is, * Essence,' which once more 
I bring to a conclusion, this time with some verses — 
good enough." f 

* Mrs. Charles Kean. 

t Little did he think that for him the " Essence " was written for 
the last time, and that the last word of his as much serious as comic 
political history of England was penned when he wrote : — 
" Away ! our brave Lords ; our bold Commons away ! 
Bill, Motion, Committee, Debate and Address, hence ! 
Punch rejoicing (how much 'twere uncivil to say) 

Puts his finishing rhyme to his exquisite ' Essence.' " 
Lords and Commons were putting away their parliamentary 
puppets for a season. Shirley was putting his away for ever. 

556 



PEERAGES FOR DOCTORS ? 

" August 9th. 

" No one had done anything on the Ministerial 
changes, so wrote some Hnes myself — find my hand 
has not lost its facility for rubbish of a ' lightsome ' 
kind, and anyhow I have an ear for rhythm — so has 
Burnand, so have not some of my friends."* 

S. B. TO Miss Fergusson. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 
"Monday, Aug. Uth, 1873. 

" My dear Kate, 

*' There must be a * sympathy ' between us, as 
Falstaff (whom I am getting to resemble) says. Only 
yesterday I was speculating where I should direct to 
you, there being a little article in next Punch which 
* the family ' might Hke, and behold your letter was 
en route. ■\ I am so glad you have got out of London, 
which is eminently detestable now. To-day we have 
some rain, but I don't think it is any cooler. The 
streets are quite melancholy — I don't think there is 
a carriage left in town. One's hansom races up Regent 
Street like a whirlwind, and there is nobody to run 
over. 

" Very many thanks for your most kind remembrance 
of me. I first dispose of my family, by saying that we 
are only waiting the return of my younger boy, Cecil, 
from Godesberg, to act promptly. That is, Mrs. Brooks 

* " The Shuffle of Cards," Punch, Aug. 16th, p. 64. 

f The article was entitled " The Doctors' Congress." Sir William 
Fergusson was this year president of the British Medical Association. 
Shirley wrote " Mr. Punch will not be at all astonished by the 
speedy announcement that Sir W. F. and Sir J[ames] P[aget] are 
about to be raised to the Peerage." 

557 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

and her two sons go to Oban, and thence into the north. 
I have nothing to do with their wanderings. I can't 
get away altogether until the 2nd week in September, 
but in the meantime I shall go to some sea-place 
(I don't know where — can you advise me ? ) whence 
I can come up twice a week. But, when released, I 
must go to Harrogate again, as it does me so much 
good, tho' it is rather a bore to go to the same place 
three times running. Now, Harrogate is not so far from 
Scotland but that I might manage to come and inflict 
myself on you for a few days. When I say ' inflict,' 
it is in no mock modesty. I know my priceless merits 
and value them at least as highly as you do, but you 
do not know what you propose to yourself. Your 
house will be full of men who shoot, or walk to the tops 
of mountains ten miles higher than the level of the sea, 
or stalk elephants, and so on. Now I have long given 
up the athletics, and I like to sit under a tree, and 
smoke, and be talked to. That's not the sort of guest 
you want in September. Consider these things, my 
dear K. H. F. You have plenty of time to do so. 

" Your house looked, somehow, as if you were out 
of it the other day I passed it — I had been giving away 
the prizes at the Hanover Sq. rooms, and was going to 
the Westminster Club for a cigar, etc., before dinner 
in Regent St. (Cafe Royal, No. OS, very good d., by the 
way, to be had), and I gazed in at all your windows, 
and felt you were not there. I do not think many of our 
acquaintances are left here. I have seen nobody for 
several days, except such of my colleagues as have not 
absconded. 'Tis dull work. The papers are not quite 
so dull, however, as might be expected, thanks to 
Mr. Gladstone, Mrs. Hogg, the lady with the Page, 
Orton and Kenealy, and a few more philanthropists, 
masculine and feminine. 

" I send Punch — excuse the copy being made of 

558 



MR. SAMBOURNE NEARLY DROWNED 

proof pages — I have not yet had it complete. The 
initial to the ' Essence ' is very clever and the artist 
has shown himself in his own initial,* doing what 
I suppose he is now about, viz., rowing on the Seine. 
I told him the Thames might have been a good enough 
river for him, but he said he wanted to improve his 
French — I imagine he will hear some that may not 
improve him if he runs up against a bargeful of Seine 
cads, as he is very certain to do.| 

" The railway continues to furnish accidents. The 
fearful business at Wigan seems to produce no more 
care. Its result spread almost up to our door — one of 
the slain (Miss Nason's maid) was a girl who worked 
for a milliner employed by Mrs. Brooks, and has often 
been here. But worse things are done in America, 
as you will have seen — 40 burned on a steamer, as they 
were going for their holiday. 

*' Sir William has been doing his work splendidly, 
but he is a model host, so that can surprise nobody. 
I have accepted his teaching about water, with a 
modification. I am not afraid of water, not I, but I 
always put something into it, for we are bound to use 
all proper means for preserving ourselves, that we may 
live the longer to do the more good to others, and let 
them profit by the example of our goodness and 
virtue. It is very pleasing to think that the stiff er 



* This is literally and delightfully true [vide Punch April 16th, 
p. 62). Mr. Sambourne has not only signed his initials to his 
drawing, but he has signed his portrait to his initials ! 

\ This proved partly prophetic, for in a later letter he writes : 
" Sambourne came to grief, and tho' we can laugh now it might 
have been bad work. The boat swamped where the Seine is very 
wide, and they had to save themselves by swimming ; he thought 
it was ' all up ' at one time, for he could not reach shore but got to 
a friendly boat." 

559 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

one brews one's tumbler and one's Eke, the more one 
is obeying the dictates of rehgion and moraUty. 

" With which elevated sentiments, and with kindest 
regards to Nelly (and I am glad she spells it so, and not 
like the young ladies whose photographs we see in 
windows), I end this screed, and am, my dear Kate, 

" Most faithfully yours, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

In August Shirley managed to get away to Folke- 
stone, where the Friths, du Maurier, (Sir Francis) 
Burnand and Charles Keene were already making 
holiday. Percival Leigh was as usual left in charge at 
headquarters. 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" Pavilion Hotel, 

" Folkestone, 
"12 noon. Wind W. Sun shining. 
" Sept. 16th, 73. 

" My dear Leigh, 

" The number was all right, thanks to your care. 
This opinion of mine you would learn from a note I 
asked Brightmore to forward to you. 

" Touching the large cut, it seems to me that Punch 
is almost logically bound to complete the history of the 
war by giving something about the final Evacuation. 
As to its form, I think Tenniel will like to settle this 
for himself. You might make Germany (female) going 
out with a sort of warning : ' Now, Madam, mind 
I never have occasion to come again, or you will not get 
rid of me so easily,' and France (female), scowling 
proud defiance, ' Next time you come I shall be better 
prepared for you.' For that is the truth of the situation. 
But the idea will suggest many forms of treatment. 
I think that it is certainly the cut of the week, anyhow. 

560 










C.U.a, 



THIS INITIAL LETTER, CUT F^ROM THE PAGES OF '* PUNCH 
WAS FOUND PASTED IN SHIRLEV's DIARY FOR 1873, 
WITH THE IDENTIFICATIONS OF THE PORTRAITS 
ADDED IN HIS HANDWRITING 



Reproduced by kind permission of the Proprietors of "Punch" 



THE BORE WHO QUOTES 

I write to Jackides by this post to the same effect, that 
he may turn the matter over in his mind. Or France 
saying, ' Au revoir,' and Germany saying, * I suppose, 
dear madam, we are not Hkely to see you in Berhn 
soon ? ' France, * Cela depend.' 

[' Speed the parting Guest.' 
" Mere hints j ' The Best Enemies must part.' 

[' I owe you a return visit. Madam.'* 

" Varied weather, but lovely air. 

" Ever yours, 

"S. B." 
" Sept. 8th. 

"Reading Mrs. Grote's * Grote,'t dull book, but 
here and there a point. Says the lower orders lost 
all faith in the upper, by reason of Crimean blundering. 
If Grote talked as Johnsonically as she makes him 
speak, he must have been a bore, but I don't believe it, 
and will ask Dr. Wm. Smith." 
"Sept. llth. 

" Got £11 8s. from Dramatic Authors, for perform- 
ances (some years now) of my pieces, which still yield 
a little, though the last must be 20 years old." 
" Sept. \3th. 

" In ladies' room (Pavilion Hotel, Folkestone), Mr. S., 
of Glasgow, claimed acquaintance, and said I had dined 
with him. I had forgotten it, but that being so I was 
obliged to talk to him, and he was the bore of my visit 
— telling old tales, and showing me cuttings from P., 

etc., in a d d little red book he carried about with 

him. Actually quoted to me one of my own bits. 
However, such things can be borne." 

* The cut was not a great success, nor was the legend which ran : — • 
" Au Re VOIR. 

" Germany. ' Farewell, madame, and if ' 

" France. ' Ha ! we shall meet again ! ' " 

•f Mrs. Harriet Grote's " Personal Life of George Grote." 

561 

37— (3297) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

Later he added the following note : — 

" Wrote as I felt, as usual. But saw his ' sudden 
death ' in the paper late in November, and am glad 
I was always civil to him." 

" Sept. \5th. 

" Sharpe told me a story about Carlyle and Swin- 
burne, not so bad. S. wished to meet C. ' Well, I 
consider him a man who lives in a sewer, and contributes 
to it — and so tell him that, and bring him, if he likes to 
come.' " 
" Sept. \6ih. 

" Duke of Wellington said he voted for Wife's Sister 
Marriage Bill because the Duchess had a pretty sister. 
' The Duchess will outlive you,' said L.* * Don't 
know that,' said D., ' you attend her.' . . . 

" Duke of W. (above), talking of Locock's Pills. 
L. repudiated them. ' But they bear your name.' 
* Yes, and I wear Wellingtons, but I don't call you 
a bootmaker.' " 

On September 23rd he moved on to Brighton, where, 
notwithstanding the brass bands and " the paint 
without beauty," he stayed for a fortnight. 

S. B. TO Miss Fergusson. 

" 33 Old Steine, 
" Brighton, 
"1st Oct., 1873. 

" My dear Kate, 

"... This place is crammed, but not with nice 
people, who come in November. I hate the place, 
except for a couple of days. The very music, which 
never ceases, is a nuisance to me, and the crowd is 
an ahhomination (a spelling which makes the word 
stronger). But the weather is beautiful, and so is 

* Dr. Locock. 

562 



A GOOD "SEQUITUR" 

the air, and I go out fishing, as then I do not hear 
Offenbach murdered on brass. 

" They have turned poor old King Turvey drop's 
stables at the Pavilion into a Museum, and there is 
a handsome room of pictures, some of them good. 
All the * improve-your-mind ' part also is admirable, 
and to be passed through with great rapidity, but there 
is some very curious old English china worth seeing. 
Also a wonderful clock that tells you how old the moon 
is, and when it will rain next, and how old you are 
(I know my age without telling, for I was in Brighton 
in 1827), and what you are going to have for dinner, 
and everything, I believe, except what o'clock it is. 
But the Aquarium is something, and I go there 
incessantly, and I think one of the lady lobsters knows 
me and winks at me. There is no amusement here, 
whereas at Folkestone we are hurried off every day 
to see the boat come in, and insult the sick — ask the 
Miss Friths if we didn't. Do you know Folkestone ? 
If so, you will agree with me that the Lees is a far 
better walk than this Parade. We had ' beauty 
without paint ' there : here we have paint without 
beauty. 

" Do you know this ? I fancy it must be French. 

" ' Widower. " My wife is dead. Tears will not restore 
her. Therefore — I weep." 

" I had not seen it. 

"... Ever yours faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks." 

On the day that the above letter was written 
Landseer died, and it was, says Mr. Frith in his 
" Reminiscences," due to Shirley's advocacy in the 
Press that the great painter was buried in St. Paul's. 
Again I take advantage of Mr. Frith's kindness and 
borrow a delightful letter. 

563 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

S. B. TO Mr. Frith, R.A. 

" 33 Old Steine, 

" Brighton, 

" Oct. 3rd, 1873. 

" My dear Cottle, 

" I've no note-paper, but that's a detail. I've 
nothing to say, and that's another. You're another. 
Yes, I have to say this — that the Royal Academy ought 
to stir themselves up, and bury Sir Edwin in S. Paul's. 
I wrote that in print yesterday, and it is gone to India ; 
it was not hinted to me by the D.T., as you would, of 
course, with your usual candour, suggest. 

" We have lovely weather here — almost too hot. 
I shall come up on Wednesday, but the missis is 
enjoying it so much, that she asks for another week ; 
so I shall go down again on Saturday. I have been 
reading up about this place and George IV. I remem- 
ber his death well ; and also that I tried my sucking 
muse on a sweet elegy on his demise, beginning : — 

" ' And is our monarch gone, and is it so ? 
O Albion, yet again thy tears must flow ! ' 

" Fancy blubbering over Turveydrop ! But if we 
waited to /eel before we wrote, there wouldn't be half 
so much good writing as there is. ' Precious good 
thing, too ! ' says you. Apelles, stick to thy last 
(Apelles was not the same as Apella). They have 
turned the Pavilion stables into a free museum — a good 
many pictures, of which a few are good ; and some 
very funny old china, besides the regular improve-your- 
mind business of owls, oysters, oohtes, etc. The 
catalogue is not to be had, being in reviewing hands, 
or I'd send it you. Do you remember a ' Birthday 
Party ' of O'Neil's (?) children dancing : a good deal 
of go in it — that's one of the pictures ; and another 
is that by A. Solomon, of the girl fainting at seeing 

564 



BRIGHTON, A "CITY OF THE PLAIN" 

her rival's negress dressed in the former's brocade. 
Also Millais' ' Bonny Prince Charley ' — a woman 
sewing a cockade on. 

" My dear Cottle, when I think of the pretty faces 
we daily saw at Folkestone, and when I walk on this 
parade and see every variety of frump — some so 
hideous ! — I am ready to weep ; and should, but for 
being more ready to curse at the eternal and infernal 
music that is going on from early morn to Jew-^y eve. 
Except in some girls' schools, there is not a pretty face 
in Brighton ; but that is nothing. The place is full 

of criminal, d able hideousness ; and it ought to 

draw down heaven's wrath, for I am sure this is the 
City of the Plain. 

" Ever yours faithfully, 

"S. B." 

If any further proof were needed that Shirley was 
suggester-in-chief of subjects for the cartoons, the 
following letter to his deputy would be pretty con- 
clusive. John Bright had rejoined the Ministry as 
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster just as the 
Ashantee expedition had been decided upon. 

S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" Danby House, 

" 33 Old Steine, 

" Brighton, 
" Oct., 1873. 
" My dear Leigh, 

" I suppose that the Return of John Bright to 
office is the topic. At least I see no other. I hope you 
will have a full Conclave, and hit out a cut which, while 
it lends itself, etc., expresses, etc. Jackides is aware 
of the formulary. 

" Bright (malgre Times) does come back to help the 

^65 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

discomfited Cabinet. Whether you will treat him as 
the Friend in Need ; or as the Fighting Quaker come 
back as he sniffs war ; or as our Big Brother ; or as 
' time-honoured Lancaster ' (see book), or as the new 
old ' maid-of-all-work,' as Dufferin called the C. of 
Lancaster ; or coming in with ' Verily, William, thou 
seemest to be in what is carnally called a jolly mess ' ; 
or if 3^ou could apply the story of the Quaker at sea 
fight saying, ' He was a man of peace, but, friend 
Captain, if thou wert to lay this tube this way what 
a number of poor souls (Tories) thou mightest blow to 

; ' or as an old coachman preparing to see whether 

he can ' drive the bus thro' Temple Bar ' ; or as 
Achilles coming out of his sulk and shouting for battle ; 
or as the Complete Angler, instructing his pupil, 
William, how to throw a catching fly for the fat fish, 
John Bull ; or put the ' Three Chancellors, Gladstone, 
Selborne, and Bright in the middle, and something 
about We Three ' ; or something apropos of the 
Bathing Season (now on) and him as a big bathing 
man teaching a couple of little Ministers, and bidding 
them ' Strike out, like little men, that's the way to 
swim ; ' is for the Council's high consideration. There 
must be some way of making a good bit of fun out of it. 
He would look well confronted with an Ashantee 
warrior, and regretting, in Quaker talk, that he has to 
knock him over, but going to do it all the same ; or, 
better, telling William that if the misguided man has 
to be taught a lesson it had better, out of kindness 
to the poor fellow, be done thoroughly.* 

* The last idea was adopted : — 

" A Friend in Need. 

" Mr. Gladstone. ' My dear John, I congratulate you ! Just in 
time to settle accounts with our black friend yonder.' 

" John Bright. ' H'm ! • Fighting is not quite in my line, as thou 
knowest, friend William ; nevertheless ! 

566 



> )> 



THE NOTORIOUS EDWIN JAMES 

" Think away, my boys, think away, and I drink 
to you. 

" Your affectionate 

" Exile at Brighton." 

" Oct. 25th. 

" King thought that something about Edwin James 
(scamp, who stands again for Marylebone), though 
perfectly true, was not in place in P.* But I said 
I should touch many things of the sort, not proposing 
P. should be merely a tumbler." 

" Oct. 28th. 

" Yates encloses a note from Edwin James, asking 
Y.'s intercession with Punch. James has the cheek 
to stand for Marylebone. Says Press attacks increase 
his supporters, but give pain to his ' aged relatives.' 
Told Y. that when J. is L.C.J., he will answer such a 
plea with ' You should have thought of that before.' " 



* Edwin James, the notorious defender of Dr. Simon Bernard 
in 1858, quondam recorder of Brighton and M.P. for Marylebone, 
later a bankrupt and disbarred for unprofessional conduct, had 
retired for ten years to America and practised at the New York Bar. 
Now he was back again in London, making a hand-to-mouth 
living out of the unwary, and seeking the suffrages of his old electors. 
Shirley did not spare him, and " Edwin James in Error " appeared 
in Punch for Oct. 25th. The nature of his castigation may 
be gathered from the following sentences : " Mr. Edwin James 
must not presume too far on his own abjectness. . . . The man 
whom the judges have unanimously refused to re-admit to the Bar 
is not the man whom any English constituency can return to 
Parliament. Edwin James's return to England is not an event on 
which, as far as we can see, any person or community is to be 
congratulated, but his return to Parliament would be a catastrophe 
which we decline to contemplate as possible in even the most 
Marylebonish of Boroughs." 

567 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 
S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

" Oct. 26th, 73. 

" I beheld two acts of * Richelieu ' last night. 
I could not have supposed Irving to be so detestably 
bad. Shriek, rant, vulgarity of conception. House 
crammed, but not, I am glad to say, enthusiastic, tho' 
the usual calls were performed. We heard Bateman 
himself applauding Isabel * like mad.'* Beautifully 
got up, nothing could be better. Trollope shouted 
after me at the G. yesterday to tell me that in the 
Graphic the artist, not being able to draw horses, has 
introduced a picnic with champagne into the middle 
of a chapter about a fox chase ! " 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

" Nov. 2nd, 1873. 

" I called on Henry James yesterday wanting to 
consult him about Reginald. I found the Solicitor G. 
in a state, for he has got to be Attorney-General. He 
had just had a telegram saying that Bovillf had died. 
His ofhce is so good a one, that Coleridge it is thought 
must have it. Now James has £6,000 a year and 
extras, and would have liked to enjoy this and the 
dignity for a bit, without the terrific work of the other 
office, which will in future be only £7,000 and extras. 
He declared he would blow his brains out, but he has 
too many to do that." 

* H. L. Bateman was manager of the " Lyceum " at this time, and 
Miss Isabel Bateman was acting the part of Julie. Irving 's acting 
of Richelieu was dealt with very severely in next week's Punch, 
vide Nov. 1st, p. 177. 

f Sir William Bovill, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, succeeded 
by Sir John (Lord) Coleridge, who in his turn was succeeded as 
Attorney-General by Sir Henry (Lord) James. 

568 



"WHEN YOU MUST, YOU'D BETTER" 
S. B. TO Miss Fergusson. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 
" Sunday. 

" My dear Kate, 

" You will receive this on the morning of your 

birthday. I send you some rhymes, but I must also 

send you, in the hope that you will care more for that, 

a line to assure you how sincerely and heartily I 

congratulate you, and hope for all kinds of happiness 

for you. 

" We are just going off to dine with Mrs. Keeley, 

and it is a nice-looking night to go out in. I suppose 

the weather is just a judgment on us for fracturing the 

Sawbath, as we say in the north. 

* * * * 

" O, one word more. This is the crest and motto of 
a Scots lady with whom I had some correspondence 
in the holidays. 

(Here is pasted in a crest with the motto : — 
" When you must 
You'd better.") 

" It's too pert to be old, but it is rather funny. 
She asked me for an autograph, so I naturally sent her 
one abusing Burns. 

" Once more and always 

" Yours most faithfully, 

" Shirley Brooks." 
These were the lines enclosed : — 

" A Birthday Acrostic. 

" Take the name of an actor so great and so small, 

What certain folks make about nothing at all. 

What's as needful at breakfast as coffee, or lait, 

What we speak with when meaning that folks 

should obey, 

569 



(K 


ea 


N) 


(A 


d 


0) 


(T 


ime 


S) 


(E mphasi 


S) 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

The French for a fool, and the Scotch for unsober, (F o U) 
A httle Scots isle, precious cold in October, (E i G) 

What a horse should not be, or in racing he'll lag, (R oare R) 
What Aberdeen's made of, the spoil of the crag, (G ranit E) 
That of which Mr. Mill (see his ' Life ') appears vain, (U nbelie F) 
A specimen (in the Comparative, work (S ampl E) 

Young ladies were, once, not permitted to shirk), 
A royal Scots House that won't govern again, (S tuar T) 
Nom de plume of a lady whose writings are bold, (O uid A) 
Norn pour rire of a gentleman known as ' the old,' (N ic K) 
Take the initials and finals, those down and these 

up, 
With the best mountain dew fill the best silver cup. 
And drink to the health of the Lady whose name 
Her Poet (Immortal) delivers to Fame, 
And wishes her, plus all good things of this earth. 
Many happy returns of the day of her birth. 

" Shirley Brooks. 

"Monday, 3rd Nov., 1873." 

It will be noticed that lines nine and twelve rhyme, 
whereas the rest of the acrostic is in rhyming couplets. 
The above is as it was sent corrected a day or two later, 
when he wrote : "I find I mulled the acrostic . . . 
accept all apology for my carelessness. My only 
excuse is that I was very much occupied on the day 
I wrote, and that is no excuse at all." 

" Nov. Sih. (Diary.) 

" The former (Miss * Torie ' Matthews) bought for 
me at Brighton a magic inexhaustible inkstand, to 
work for 100 years — longer than I shall want it, espe- 
cially as Dr. Johnson's ' odd thought ' goes — no letters 
in the grave. 

" Note from Christie with this from Sir Mordaunt 
Wells, * Miss C. Baynes and all Harrogate are raving 

570 



A GOOD STORY ABOUT DELANE 

about S. B. There never was a man so much Hked — - 
you may tell him so. I don't know him myself.' 
I believe I was tolerably civil to most of them — not all." 
" Nov. 9th. 

" Heard a good story about Billy Russell and 
Delane. W. R., D., Lord Hartington*, and others, 
were in a railway carriage, and some dispute arose 
about some date. R. affirmed that he knew, having 
made an entry in his diary. This was in his travelling 
case, and he produced it. He found the page, but not 
being able to read — his glass having slipped into his 
trousers — he gave it to Delane to read, who read 
' John Delane tells me so and so, but then he is such 

a d d liar that one doesn't know," etc. This 

Delane showed to Lord Hartington. However, it 
passed, and Russell has since dined with Delane." 
" Nov. 22nd. 

" Disraeli quoted some Greek at Glasgow on Wednes- 
day. King thought from Sophocles, so did Rego, 
but neither knew whence. I ran it down in Potter 
next day. ' Ajax,' speech of Teucer, after the suicide." 
" Nov. 25th. 

" Good story about the Queen, who, speaking of 
Dilkef, wondered he was so averse to monarchy. 
* I have had him on my lap. I have stroked his hair. 
I suppose I stroked it the wrong way.' " 

At the beginning of December a '* breeze " arose 
between Shirley and the management of the Illustrated 
London News. It was of short duration, but blew 
fairly hard whilst it lasted. I group the allusions from 
the diary, which show Shirley in one of his rare, but 
none the less real, prickly moods. 

* Now Duke of Devonshire. 
t The present baronet. 

371 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" Dec. \st. 

" The I.L.N, advert, of Xmas No. does not include 
my article. Wherefore I wrote to-day to the P.M.G. 
to know whether they still wanted pars (I was asked 
for them in other days). I do not want to throw away 
one pot-boiler till I have secured another, but when 
I have done this, my I.L.N, friends shall hear 

something." 

* * ♦ * 

" Dec. 2nd. 

" Note from Frederic Greenwood,* Pall Mall G. 
' If you do wish to form any new attachment I think 
it likely you may succeed in doing so here to your 
satisfaction,' and will I call ? " 

9ic ♦ ^ )|e 

" Dec. 6th. 

" A note from Latey, which I think settles the 
business between me and the I.L.N. It is to say that 
they can't use, but will pay for, the Xmas article, 
and don't want * B. the W.' next week. Now I shall 

launch my thunderbolt." 

* * * * 

" Dec. 29th. 

" Made out my bill against I.L.N, and put ' no 
charge ' for Xmas story, adding that it would have been 
£15 15s. Wrote Latey that I recognized his good 
feeling, but that unless he wrote on the part of the 

management, things had better remain as they are." 

* * * * 

" Dec. 3\st. 

" To-day there came another appeal from Latey, 
begging me to ' bear and forbear,' and so earnest that 

* Originator and first editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, and one to 
whose encouragement the present writer, in common with numberless 
others, owes more than will ever be known. 

572 



A SHARP WARNING 

I could not hold out, and I wrote to him that if he 
would send at one next day, he should have ' By the 
Way/ and he was to telegraph if this were too late." 

Other extracts from the diary for December show 
that his health was causing him some anxiety. 

" Dec. IsL 

" Owen Rees* called. Now the wind or whatever 
it is in my side had been bothersome, so I told him. 
He made a partial examination, but asked me to see 
him one of these days. Settled to do so to-morrow. 
I wish I could know positively how long I may expect 
to work for my 3. . . ." 

" Dec. 2nd. 

" Called on O. Rees, 26 Albemarle St., and he 
thoroughly examined my upper regions. Wind and 
a valve don't act rightly, but no cause for alarm. Said 
that I should have plenty of warning before danger of 
sudden death." 

" Dec. 7th. 

" E., as we were about to go up and were speaking 
about the chances of life, which we hope for, for the 
boys' sake, said that if anything happened to me she 
should not long survive — she used other words. How- 
ever, I hope to die first, but to live until we can calmly 
say the nunc dimittis." 

On Dec. 17th he dined with the Alpine Club at 
Willis's rooms and wrote : — 

'' To my disgust, without a syllable of warning, or 
a minute's notice, Willsj gave my health in connection 

* The eminent physician, at this time at Guy's Hospital. 
t (The Rt. Hon. Sir) Alfred Wills, one of the founders of the 
Alpine Club and third president. 

573 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

with the * Strangers.' However, I was in pretty good 
form, talked chaff, and called mountains excrescences 
on the beautiful face of Nature, which elicited what 
Hardman in his report called good-humoured derisive 
cheers. Said I had seen Lebanon and Etna but never 
an Alp, but had read of Alp the Renegade, and Clan 
Alpine, and so on. It did. They smoke * as soon as 
the Queen is polished off,' as Hardy reverently put it." 

" Dec. mh. 

" To the Gaiety, to see the ' Hypocrite,' which is 
drawing great houses. The orchestra itself is made 
into stalls. I do not know what draws the people, 
the play is an anachronism, and badly acted, except 
by Phelps — Toole's Mawworm may amuse some folks 
but it is bad. Miss Farren is a mere soubrette as 
Charlotte. Phelps is impressive, there is backbone in 
his acting, and the non-h3^pocrite scenes were very good 
indeed. When did I see this play last ? At Drury 
Lane, I think, with Dowton." 

S. B. TO Miss Matthews. 

" Dec. 20th, 1873. 

" I saw most of the ' Hypocrite.' I do not know 
what draws the people. The house was full to the 
brim. Phelps is not unctuous enough, but showed 
power, and was like an artist among the duffers around 
him. E. Farren is a mere soubrette. Charlotte should 
be a lady. Besides, she talks through her nose, which 
is well enough in burlesque, but not in comedy. Toole 
made nothing of Mawworm. I did not think he could 
be so inefficient, and the buffoonery at the end is 
contemptible. The rest were as heavy as lead, but 
Miss Loseby did the dangerous scene with Cantwell 
better than I expected." 

574 



HIS LAST CHRISTMAS DINNER 
S. B. TO Percival Leigh. 

" ' Punch ' Office, 

" 21th Dec, 1873. 

" There, my dear Leigh, I have just made up the 
New Year's number. A select lot dine at the Bedford 
on Monday, as we all are more or less engaged after- 
wards, so we hope you'll drink our healths, and we shall 
do the same by you and yours. I hope you enjoyed 
your Xmas day. We dined with my old friends, the 
Matthews's (Grindlay & Co.'s house, a name known in 
Southampton), and were very merry, and I uttered 
versicles which I had made for the occasion, and they 
were received with rapture, and their printing was 
demanded ; that you may see how entirely they deserve 
that glory, I send you a specimen. This was the verse 
for a lovely little girl, who is a wonderful subduer of 
animals : — 

" * No rhyme, the bard saith'll 

Fit dear Uttle Ethel, 
Who tames every quadruped under her care. 

Some day she will tame 

A tall biped we'll name 
At a one o'clock breakfast in Manchester Square.' 

Nineteen verses of the same kind. I bet you didn't 
exert yourself so much for the delectation of your party. 
We luckily got a sober cabman, although it was Xmas 
day, or night, so we got home in peace and joy. I have 
some friends coming to me on the Eve, but we make 
it a supper this time, as a dinner, even beginning at 
8.30, drags if you want to hear the Bells. We've tried 
various ways ; this is an experiment. 

" Nobody here to-day. W. B. came for an hour, 
but is gone back to Clapham. Drury Lane pantomime 

575 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

very bad this year, I heard to-day from folks who were 
there ; Covent Garden better, but foggy. I suspect 
that if one wants the old fun, one should go to the 
Surrey. The night before Boxing Night, they played 
their pantomime there, and there were so many hitches 
that the house howled, and the manager came forward 
in the greatest of rages, and told them that they must 
know this could be only a rehearsal, and if they didn't 

stop their d d noises he'd drop the curtain. Serve 

'em right. The cads were hushed instanter. 

" I don't know why I inflict all this scrawl on you, 
but it seems natural to finish off the week's work with 
a handshake with you. All good wishes for a happy 
new year to you and Fred, and Mrs. Leigh, and 
(respectful) salutes to the young ladies from the aged 
Editor. 

" Ever yours, 

*'S. B." 



On Dec. 31st the last of the feasts was given at which 
Shirley was to gather round him his friends " to see 
the Old Year out and the New Year in." 

Present were the Burnands, S. L. Clemens (Mark 
Twain), Arthur Cecil, the Crowdys, the du Mauriers, 
the Friths, the Hardmans, the Jerrolds, Mrs. Keeley, 
the Matthews's, Mr. J . C. Parkinson, Mr. Sambourne, (Sir 
John) Tenniel, Mr. Horace Voules, Mrs. Montagu 
Wilhams, and the Yates's. Irving and Farren were 
prevented from coming at the last moment. 

" Somehow," he wrote in his diary, " I did not fancy 
we were so jolly as usual," notwithstanding the fact 
that " Mark Twain proposed the host and hostess in 
a very funny little speech." 

576 



D.G. 

Then comes the last sentence in this the last of his 
diaries : — 

" I believe that it was only my fancy that made me 
think our supper less effective than our other gatherings 
have been. To bed at 2.30, and all thanks where all 
should be paid for all the mercies of the year." 



577 

38— (2297) 




CHAPTER XX 

1874— Last Days— Death. 

HEN Shirley began the year 
1874 by posting up at 
the end of his last year's 
diary the names of those 
who, during the past 
twelve months, had gone 
" ad Majores " — James 
Hannay, Lord L5rtton, 
Charles Knight, Macready, 
Emmanuel Deutsch, 
Thornton Hunt, Samuel Wilberforce, Lord Westbury, 
Landseer, and twenty others, little did he guess how 
soon he was to join the silent company. For the 
moment life seemed strong in him, as strong, that is to 
say, as it had been since he had received the sharp 
warning of four years before. Fortunately for him 
there was to be no long tottering on the brink of the 
grave. It was his happiness that the hour struck 
whilst work was doing, whilst the harness wais still 
on his back. 

On the first night of the New Year he represented 
Punch at the Drury Lane Pantomime, taking the place 
of Mr. (now Sir Francis) Burnand, who was delivering 
some of his " Happy Thoughts " at the New Gallery in 

578 



PROFESSOR OWEN'S " DODLET " 

Argyll Street. He was in his j oiliest mood and 
wrote : — 

"... The gem of the pantomime is a httle song by 
two little ladies . . . who have a good deal to say, 
or rather sing, about ' Living on Buttercup Green.* 
It is as charming a tiny pastorale as can be imagined. 
. . . When the small lovers slowly and caressingly 
glided round together with looks of earnest belief in 
the fool's paradise they had been singing about, 
Mr. Punch declared that this five minutes would have 
paid him for coming to the theatre in the ramshackliest 
of cabs, with a horse that tumbled down ... in 
Leicester Square, and with a cabman whom he had to 
offer to fight for the overcharge. Of course, he came 
in no such way, but in an air-tight brougham, with furs 
on his knees, and behind two fiery steeds — by the way, 
he apologizes to the fat swell he knocked down in 
Thayer Street, and will thank the executors of the 
apple-woman whom he ran over in Long Acre to call 
at his office with probate of her will, when he will make 
an addition to her residuary estate." And so on, and 
so on, playing the fool in the most dehghtful manner 
possible. 

Then, when this was done, he sets himself to write 
the dehghtful verses entitled " The Dodo Demolished,"* 
inspired by a letter to the Times from Professor Owen, 
who denied that a live specimen of the Dodo had been 
discovered in the Samoan Islands, and declared that 
it was only a " dodlet ! " 

Then he sat down to write to Percival Leigh, who 
was out of town, and of course wanted to know all about 
everything. 

* Punch, Jan. 10th, p. 19. 

579 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 

** My dear Professor, 

" I meant to send you a line yesterday, but went 
in without the enclosed. As your circle was pleased 
with a specimen, it may like to hear the entire * poem.** 
A note or two explains the private allusions. When it 
has satiated you, send it me back, please, as it is, as 
you see, a domestic affair, and I send it only because 
one happy family likes to hear of the fun of another. 

" You'll like the cartoon this week. The Vatican 
Hatter is very sorry he hasn't a hat for Manning, all 
he has got are for under-sized heads. I have done some 
nonsense about the Dodo, and as Burnand is busy, 
I have done a notice of the Drury Lane pantomime, 
in which there is one little idyll, two children, lovers, 
singing, about the happy days that will be seen when 
' Living on Buttercup Green,' that is prettier than aught 
I have heard for many a day. Sir, we had the box of 
the Baroness Burdett-Coutts, and we did go in a 
brougham with two horses, as stated. But, to show 
you I am not proud, which is wrong, I add that we went 
home in a cab, and a bad one, and I used language to 
suit. 

" We have had a beautiful day, up to now, (3) but 
I think 'tis going to snow, or rain, or both. 

" Let's see — I have nothing particular to tell you. 
We saw out the old year. I got about 30 here, and 
gave them supper, and Tenniel, who always waits 
to the end, per agreement with me, left at 2.30, so, 
presumably people enjoyed themselves; they made 
jolly row enough. We had the Friths, Kikis, Mark 

* The verses which he had written and recited on Dec. 17th at 
Mr. Matthews's " At Home." 

580 



THE VATICAN HATTER 

Twain, Jerrolds, my friends of the house the verses 
were said at, Sambourne, Arthur Blunt, Burnand and 
Mrs. Rosie, Crowdys, etc., and Kiki sang French songs 
exquisitely. I wish you could hear some of his 
chansons ; he might do them at No. 10,* but he wants 
a pianoforte. 

" I am going to dine with Sir H. Thompson on 
Wednesday, and talk Cremation ; have you seen his 
article thereon ? I suppose and hope that you are 
with us (I say ' us,' because I have always been for it) 
in this matter. If you have not seen the article (in the 
Contemporary Review) I'll send it to you when you 
return. It is not a topic we can often touch in P. but 
it may be well to have one profession of faith 
thereanent.f 

" ' The deep Vesuvius roars 
From the centre of the earth.' 
— Masaniello. 
" So saith the seismograph. 

" Kindest regards to all. 

" Ever yours, 

" S. B." 

That was how he began the year, first with tender 
thoughts for the httle ones, next with cap and bells 
donned for the public who looked to him for laughter, 
castigating with all seriousness a Pope who as " The 
Vatican Hatter " could only find " hats for under- 
sized heads," then with timely jest driving home a 
long-needed social reform, and then writing a screed 
to a friend, who must not be neglected merely because 

* The Punch offices. 

t Vide " Cremation " [Punch, Jan. 10th, p. 12). " If Cremation 
should ever become the rule . . . the first . , . crematory would 
be in Bemers Street," of course. 

581 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

the editor was overwhelmed with work and the man 
was ready to throw down his pen for very weariness. 

In the early part of the month he had threatenings 
of his old trouble, but stuck resolutely to his work, as 
indeed he did to the end. 

Later he dined at the Frith's. " I well remember 
the night," writes his host. " He looked tired and 
seemed out of spirits, his appetite failed, and he left 
early. I never saw him again." 

Then Reginald records in his diary, " The Governor 
(has) got a nasty sort of cough." Two days later the 
" Governor " is " very seedy." But he is not too 
" seedy " to write to Hepworth Dixon about his new 
book, " The History of Two Queens " : — 

" My dear Hepworth, 

" Many thanks for the two ladies you have sealed 
to me.* Always welcome as your books are to me 
they are particularly so this week, when I am shut up 
to cure one of those infernal colds that come of our 
climate, and balance constitution, free press, enlight- 
ened Shirkey Class and all the rest of our blessings. 
I am glad indeed to have something to read worth 
reading and printed in an audible type. . . . 

** Ever yours, 

"S. B." 

Two days later (the 5th), " the Governor is much 
worse," and the doctor, Owen Rees, is called in. On 
the 10th the sick man writes a humorous letter to his 
colleague who has been suffering from a sharp attack 
of eczema, oblivious of the fact that " one thorn of 
experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning." 

♦ Referring to Brigham Young's wives who were "sealed " to him. 

582 



LAST ILLNESS 

S. B. TO (Sir) F. C. Burnand. 

" 6 Kent Terrace, 

" Regent's Park, 

" N.W. 
" Monday, 10th Feb. 
" 4 p.m. 

" Dear Frank, 

" Costume, a pair of breeches, but not pulled up 
and fastened, a plaid scarf, a light shawl and a big red 
quilt. Seat, easy chair by fire in bedroom. State of 
mind — offensive. State of body — legs rather swollen, 
incessant korf, and touch of bronchitis. Liquor, 
lemonade all day, a glass of hock at dinner. Cigar not 
forbidden, which is mean, because I don't care about 
it in the least. 

" Ubi lapsus, quid feci ? But I think — I say I think 
that I would have an extra week of this sort of thing, 
if I could thereby buy you six weeks of immunity 
from what you tell me of. However, you are young, 
and have time for a dozen ventures. It is most 
irritating at a time when all is going so well. I fancy, 
too, that you would find things lighter if you went 
to bed a little earlier and a great deal straighter. You, 
I fear, make your evening a Jolly one, like that of 
any other roysterer, — ' O, let's go and hear Burnand 
and then to Evans's ! ' Now don't. Let not even 
Sambo lead you astray. 

" Poor dear Rosie.* I am indeed grieved to hear 
about that. You or I would go about mad with such 
a thing ; but somehow Nature gives the women a 
power of enduring martyrdom — and it does away with 
the crown. 

" Don't trouble about thinking of coming to see me. 
In fact, the Doctors would rather I saw nobody, as 

* Mrs. Burnand. 

583 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

talking makes me cough, so I see scarcely anybody 
except a lady or two, who do not expect answers to 
what they say. When our throats are clear we'll have 
it out. But I will let you know about myself, and 
I shall be more than glad to hear that you are 
recovering. 

" Written on a book, but I daresay you can read it. 

" Ever yours, 

" S. B." 

The weather is Arctic, and all against the sick man. 
Then comes a thaw, and the boy writes : — 

" Good for the Governor, who is slightly better 
to-day." 

But he is really ill, and the next day Miss Matthews 
comes in after dinner and stays all night to help the 
distracted wife. " Mater quite knocked up. Doctors 
are such fools, and I don't believe he is worse at all ; 
he seems so bright and cheerful." 
" Feb. I5th. 

" Doctors thought Papa no worse, which in his case 
must mean better, M. told A. T. that I had dreamt 
that Papa was on the S. Albans (coach), and drove 
to the Abbey. He could not get in, and had to go to 
a small door, where also he could not get in, so came 
back. It is a splendid omen, but / didn't dream it. 
Who did, M. or A. T. ? " 

" Feb. \&h. 

" A. T. and Jessie called ; papa himself had had that 
dream, which makes it better. People calhng at the 
rate of 30 a day ; how kind everyone is. All the Punch 
men with one exception. . . . 

" Everyone has called or written who ought to, 
with the above-named exception. A paragraph in the 
Pall Mall from D. T., saying he is in danger ; he did 

584 



FROM REGINALD'S DIARY 

not know it, and there is no keeping the papers from 
him, tho' we tried hard. Of course, the D. T., knowing 
him dangerously ill, did not expect he would see the 
papers." 

" Feh. nth. 

" Had pancakes and gave the Governor one for luck. 
Frames called of which I was very glad, he saw me 
out of a very thick wood in Germany, now he must see 
papa out of a thicker. How superstitious anything 
giving anxiety makes us. I am watching the weather 
and numbers on cabs, and the cat ' Sandy,' but I 
always make the omens right. The augurs were very 
clever fellows." 

" Feh. mh. (Ash Wednesday.) 

" Sackcloth and ashes. This is a long affair. I alone 
am confident about the result, but his old friends are 
not. Leigh came here and papa sent him down a 
pencil note ' dat bummer der Breitmann is holding his 
own.' He burst into tears, poor old fellow. After 
dinner Millais came up and sat here for some time, very 
kind. Of course, M. Sq.* came ; how good they are, 
sending us soup and eggs and flowers and jellies, and, 
best of all, themselves." 

" Feb. \9th. 

" I wrote the Home News again to-day ; it is not so 
good even as last week, I am afraid." 

The boy was doing such of his father's work as he 
could, but Shirley was himself working for Punch up to 
within a few hours, almost a few minutes of his death. 
Nor was he alone in this amongst Punch's staunch 
army. " Many a time," says Mr. Spielmann, " have 
the public laughed aloud at jokes and pictures wrought 

* The Matthews's lived in Manchester Square. 

585 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

when the hand was stiffening in death, when the brain 
that had imagined them had already ceased to think." 

On Feb. 20th comes the last pathetic entry : — 

" Papa had an awful bad night, and telegraphed for 
Barker who came at one o'clock, and gave us hope. 
I telegraphed for Cecil. Rees came in the afternoon ; 
did not give us hope, in fact very desponding ; he is 
very fond of Papa. Mrs. Smith, Lady Thompson, 
A. T., and Irving here. M. broke down utterly before 
the latter, but he was very kind. Alma Tademas 
called. Had to do the ^.A^. Leader. Papa, ill as he 
was, finished it off with a pencil on his knees splendidly. 
Rees came again at 8 and was more cheering, for he 
says he is no worse, and with Time we can do every- 
thing. The Lancet says recovery is hopeless, and it is 
in the Echo. I hope to God it don't get in the Mornings. 
I wish people would mind their own business, and if 
they want to know how he is come to 6 K. T." 

Two days later a friend asks the sick man how he is 
and he says, with a pathetic attempt at gaiety, " I am 
Bright to-day but shall be Lowe to-morrow." Then 
a persistent newspaper man calls again. " Tell him," 
he says, with a shrewd smile, " that he shall have his 
* par ' all in good time." 

On the morning of the 23rd he looks over the forth- 
coming number of Punchy and makes some suggestions. 
A boy is waiting below for " copy." Shirley writes 
a small make-up paragraph, asks for a cigar, takes a 
couple of whiffs, " looks very surprised,"* and falls 
back dead. 

* Mrs. Brooks's own words to Mrs. Panton. 

586 



DEATH 

" He was/' wrote Blanchard Jerrold, " at peace with 
all the world. He had blessed his wife for the loving 
care with which she had watched over him. His boys 
were at home with him. And he turned gently on his 
side, and fell into his long sleep, leaving hosts of friends 
to mourn him, and not an enemy that I ever heard of, 
to assail his memory." 

It was the same kindly pen which wrote in the 
Gentleman's Magazine : — 

" Some, I trust many, under whose eyes these lines 
will fall will remember Shirley Brooks in his latter days, 
when the hard-fought fight had been won, and he had 
come out of it, his whitening hair being the only scars 
of the struggle. He never looked braver, handsomer, 
nor happier. He was as deep in his books, as familiar 
with his ink, as ever ; but now he had his acknowledged 
place in the literature which he loved. The steel at 
Napoleon's side was the same on the eve of the battle 
as on the morrow of victory ; but on the morrow it 
was the sword of Austerlitz. How cheerily and kindly, 
in the heyday of his complete success, Shirley Brooks 
gathered his circle of friends about him, none who ever 
stood under his roof-tree will forget. That was a 
pleasant house in Kent Terrace, by Regent's Park, 
where so many men whose names are household words 
were wont to gather and be wisely merry. How many 
years have I seen out and in, sitting with hosts of 
friends round the mahogany tree of our dear friend ! 
How many times has his manly and kindly voice said, 
' God bless you all ' to us, as the bells of the New Year 
broke through the stillness of midnight ! He stood 
at the head of his table last New Year's Eve, his friends 
crowded about him — the background his books and 
pictures ; watch in hand. His happy English face, 

587 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

ennobled with silver hair, never looked fuller of the 
intellectual light that he had trimmed and burned — 
a student always — for nearly forty years. I remember 
that a sad feeling came upon me as I gazed at him, 
with his watch in his hand, counting the dying seconds 
of the last New Year's Eve he was destined to see. 
For he reminded me of my father in his study at 
Kilburn Priory, on his last New Year's Eve, when he 
spoke so solemnly and slowly, as though, in the midst 
of our revel. Death had whispered to him. The 
scattered flakes of white hair were the chief resemblance 
between the two ; and it was these that revived the 
old scene in my mind — for I was struck with what 
appeared to me to be the almost sudden whiteness of 
my friend. . . ." 

On the Saturday following his death they laid him 
to rest in Kensal Green Cemetery hard by the graves 
of Leech and Thackeray. And all who stood round 
confessed that, perilous as is the vocation of the 
satirical writer, none had borne himself through its 
unguessed-at difficulties with greater justice, self- 
respect and courage than the man at whose loss they 
were so profoundly moved. Socially and profession- 
ally his death had made a gap that it would he hard 
to fill. A brilliant writer, a witty raconteur, his cor- 
diality and heartiness had never been soured by illness 
or age into cynicism or disparagement. Loving the 
applause and affection of his fellows, he never lost his 
independence or truckled to the great and powerful. 
Weaknesses he had, and no attempt has been made to 
conceal them in these pages. But surely there is 
something of nobility to be found there too, or I have 
signally failed in showing the man as he really was. 

588 



THE GREAT ADVENTURE 

More than the adumbration of a Hfe no biographer has 
ever yet set down since the world began. The best that 
can be hoped is that we have caught some momentary 
and real glimpses of a fellow creature during this great 
terrestrial adventure upon which, in common with us, 
he was so desperately engaged. 

Punch has been (and is) most fortunate in his 
editors, and yet I fancy none will gainsay what was 
written in the pages Shirley loved above all others : — 

" No better wish can be offered to his successors than 
that they may be guided by as fine a taste, as clear 
a judgment, and as well-directed sympathy, as was 
Shirley Brooks." 

Some persons profess to find it shocking that a man 
should pass into the presence of his Maker, as they call 
it, straight from writing epigrams for Punch. The 
same people are never tired of saying that we are 
always in God's presence. Should we then strike 
working when we find ourselves on the threshold of the 
Black Door we call Death, which on these persons' own 
showing does not divide us from our Maker ? True, 
there are tremendous Possibilities on the thither side. 
There is a world of Mystery. There is the rest of the 
Pattern which we have been blindly working at during 
our lives. And who will venture to say that Shirley's 
wandering thread of tinsel was not necessary to the 
whole great pattern by which the well-and-truly-done 
of Humanity will eventually be judged ? Certainly 
he was faithful over a few things. And he is in the 
hands of God. 

There are but few more words to be said. Shirley 

589 



SHIRLEY BROOKS 

had made his will in April, 1873, leaving everything to 
his wife and appointing her sole executrix. He had 
insured his life for £4,000, and there was some £2,000 
owing or standing to his account at his death. His old 
friends and comrades at once set to work and raised 
a subscription of £2,000 for his widow. Sala and 
Sir Benjamin PhiUips, some time Lord Mayor of 
London, and a good friend to Shirley, took steps to 
get her a pension. Mrs. Brooks's name was at once 
put down on the Prime Minister's list. Two years 
later a grant was made of £100 per annum. This she 
lived to enjoy for four years. She died in May, 1880, 
and was buried beside her husband at Kensal Green. 

Just one more man and woman had played their 
parts in the great adventure, and had slipped quietly 
out to their Rest beyond the Theatre of this mad world. 

And what is the moral of Shirley Brooks's life — the 
moral that attaches to Punch himself ? This, I think 
— that he and his colleagues and the paper which he 
loved so well did their wholesome part in helping the 
nineteenth century to laugh itself into sanity, when 
it was like to go melancholy mad under the teachings 
of its Ruskins, its Carlyles, and its other lesser 
pessimists. 



590 



Appendix 



The following entries appear under heading ^' Charles 
William Shirley Brooks," at the British Museum : 

" Timour the Tartar," by J. Oxenford and S. B. See Lacy (T. H.). 

Lacy's acting edition of Plays, etc. Vol. 49. 1850. 12mo. 
See Periodical Publication. London. The Literary Gazette, new 

series (edited successively by S. B., etc.). 1817. 4to. 
See Periodical Publication. London. " Punch or the London 

Charivari " (successively edited by Mark Lemon, Shirley Brooks, 

etc.). 1841, etc. 4to. 
See Reach (A. B.) and Brooks (C. W. S.). " A Story with a 

Vengeance." 1852. 8vo. 
" Amusing Poetry," edited by S. B. London. 1857. 8vo. 
New edition. London. 1874. Part of Diprose's Railway Library. 
" Anything for a Change," a petite comedy in one act (and in prose). 

See Lacy (T. H.), Lacy's acting edition of plays, etc. Vol. IV. 

1850, etc. 12mo. 
Another edition. New York. 1872 (?). 8vo. In 114 of " De 

Witt's Acting Plays." 
" Aspen Court," a story of our own time. Three vols. London. 

1855. 12mo. 
New edition, revised. London. 1857. 8vo. 
Another edition, see Handy Volume Series. Handy Volume Series. 

1868, etc. 8vo. 
" The Creole, or Love's Fetters," an original drama in three acts 

(and in prose). See Lacy (T. H.). Lacy's acting edition of 

plays, etc. Vol. I. 1850, etc. 12mo. 

591 



APPENDIX 

"The Creole, or Love's Fetters," pp. 18. 1896. Dick's standard 

play No. 1009. 1883, etc. 8vo. 
" The Daughter of the Stars," a drama in two acts (and in prose), 

Lacy's acting edition of plays, etc., Vol. II. 1850, etc. 12mo. 
" The Exposition, a Scandinavian sketch, containing as much 

irrelevant matter as possible," in one act (and in verse), Lacy, 

Vol. III. 1850, etc. 12mo. 
" Follies of the Year," by John Leech. A series of coloured etchings 

from Punch Pocket-Books. 1844-64. With some notes by 

S. B. London. 1866. 4to. 
" The Gordian Knot," a story of good and evil, with illustrations by 

J. Tenniel, London. 1858-60. 
Another edition, Handy Volume Series. 1868, etc. 
" The Guardian Angel," a farce in one act (and in prose). Lacy, 

Vol. V. 1850. 12mo. 
" The Naggletons," and " Miss Violet and her ' Offers,' " etc. 

London, 1875. 8vo. 
" The Opera," " The Coulisses," " Foreign Gentlemen in London." 

See Smith (A. R.). 
" Gavarni in London." 1849. 
Another edition. See Smith (A. R.), " Sketches of London Life," 

etc. 1859. 8vo. 
'' The Russians of the South." 1854. The Travellers' Library, 

etc. Vol. VI. 1856. 
"The Silver Cord," a story. Three vols. London. 1861. 
Another edition. Three vols. 1862. 
" Sooner or Later," with illustrations by G. du Maurier. London. 

1868. 
" Wit and Humour." Poems from Punch. Edited by R. S. 

Brooks. London. 1875. 
" The Wigwam," a burletta, in one act (and in prose), etc. Dick's 

standard play No. 1004. 1883, etc. 



592 



Ind 



ex 



X Beckett, Mr, Arthur, 191, 283 

, Gilbert, 40, 57 

Aberdeen, Lord, 122 

Abinger, Lord, 450 

Agnew, Mr. J. H., 273, 415, 478 

, Mr. Thomas, 273, 350, 402, 

415, 478 

, Sir William, 273, 402, 415. 478 

Ainsworth, Harrison, 34 
Ainsworth's Magazine, 32, et seq. 
Airy, Sir Bedell, 435, 463 
Albert, Prince, 189 
Alexandra, Queen, 213 
" Amusing Poetry," 157 
Anderson, Mrs. Garrett, 428 
Andersen, Sir James, 339 
Ansdell, Richard, 234 
" Anything for a Change," 54, 59 
Arcedekne A., 464 
Archer, Mr. William, 280 
Argus, the, 32 
Argyll, Duke of, 447 
" Aspen Court," 126, 173 
Austin, Mr. Alfred, 238, 291 
Avebury, Lord, 464 

Ballantine, Serjeant, 468 
Bancroft, Lady, 322, 337 
Barker, Dr. Edgar, 389, 392 
Bateman, H. J., 237 

, Kate, 209, 237 

Batemans, The, 503-505, 568 
Beale, T. W., 413 
Beaumont, Lady, 409 
Beauregard, General, 240 
Bedford, Paul, 436 
Bell, Robert, 304 
Bellew, F., 408 
Benedict. Sir J., 352, 460 
Bennett, Charles, 119, 273, 293-295, 
297, 329 

, Sir John, 496 

, Sir Sterndale, 231, 322, 408 

Bensusan, Mrs., 331, 367 



Bentley, Richard. 105, 126, 140, 

141, 142 
Bentley's Miscellany, 35, 106, 126 
Blackburn, Mr. Justice, 337 
Blanchard. Laman. 55 
Boucicault, Mrs., 326 
Bovill, Sir William, 568 
Bradbury, Agnew & Co. , Messrs. , 273 
& Evans, Messrs., 45, 146, 147, 

162, 164, 170, 200, 216, 217, 273, 

312, 324, 432 

, Mr. Lawrence, 162 

- — , W. H., 294, 299, 342, 345, 411, 

477, 491 
Braddon, Miss, 554 
Bright, John, 284, 389, 479, 565, 566 
Brooks, Cecil, 134, 159, 232, 233, 

235. 271, 355, 437, 438, 529 

, Elizabeth, 1 

. Reginald, 133 et seq., 228, 232, 

233, 271, 336, 355, 356, 367, 396, 

412, 423-426, 450, 454, 466, 471, 

528, 529, 530, 533, 584-586 

, Sheffield, 24 

Brooks, Charles William 
(Shirley) 

Birth, 1, 2 

Childhood, 3 et seq. 

Religious Influences, 7 et seq., 10 
et seq. 

Love of Wales, 23 

Law Studies, 24, 25 

First Literary Effort, 26 

His Appearance, 30 et seq., 68 
et seq. 

As Man of Letters, 31 and 32 

As Freemason, 36 

His Pen-names, 37, 39 

As Verse-wTiter, 48 et seq. 

As PlaywTight, 57 et seq. 

As Reporter, 61 et seq. 

As a Friend, 65 

As Conversationalist, 71 et seq., 95 

As Punster, 75 ei seq. 



593 



59— ( 8397) 



INDEX 



102 
114, 



117, 



173. 



His Memory, 83 

Love of Children, 85, 86, 204 

As Dreamer, 92 et seq.. 34 1 , 367 

As Letter-writer, 95 

His Influence on Punch, 
et seq. 

At the Punch Table, HI, 
115, 212, 397 et passim 

As Suggestcr-in-Chief, 1 16, 
213. 340, 359, 393 

As Serial Writer, 127, 172, 
178, 196 et seq. 

Marriage, 129 

Birth of his Sons, 133 

On the Staff of Punch. 135 

And the Pre-Raphaelites, 144 
And the Deceased Wife's Sister, 

145 
As Parodist, 154 
And Autograph Hunters, IbU, 

161, 212 
Bust in the R.A., 161 
As Lecturer, 168, 237, 274, 275 
And the Spiritualists, 168 
And the Volunteers, 170 
At No. 6 Kent Terrace, 181 
And the New Journalism, 198 
As Novelist, 201 
Gout, 214, 249, 340, 381, 387-91 
Kind-heartedness, 223-225, 298, 

313, 345, 394 
Diaries, 227 et passim 
On the American War, 246 
His Earnings, 234, 277, 323 
On the Censorship of Plays, 280 
As Locum Tenens, 311 
As Goldsmith, 370, 374 
As Editor of Punch. 402 et seq. 
Elected F.S.A., 491, 507 
As Amateur Actor, 503-505 
On Copyright Reform, 554 
Last Illness and Death, 582-590 

Mrs. Shirley, 129 et seq.. 181, 

183 235, 260-267, 271. 300, 324, 
330, 342, 346, 425, 448, 449. 454, 
466, 573, 590 

, William, 1, 2, 90 

, William, (jun.), 37 

Brough, William, 432 

Broughton, Lord, 354 

Browning, Robert, 104, 482 

Buchanan, Robert. 333 

Bunn, Alfred, 544 

Burdett-Coutts, Baroness, 580 



Burnand, Sir Francis, 38, 40. 57, 
101 250, 273, 282, 322, 354. 355. 
40') 404 405, 407, 442, 460, 483, 
513 523', 557, 576, 578. 581. 583 

'Mrs.. 433, 583 

■ Theophilus, 408, 470 

Burnham, Lord, 325, 327. 458 
Burns, Robert, 471, 569 
Burton. Lady. 376 
Byron, Lord, 335. 361, 372, 541 

, H. J.. 395 

" By the Way," 526 

Capel. Monsignor. 435. 461 

Cairns, Lord, 359 

Calderon, P. H., 302 

" Card Basket. The." 191 

Carington, Lord, 357 

Carlyle, Thomas, 288, 519, 562 

Carruthers, Robert, 409 

Cecil. Arthur, 206 

" Chaos without Knox." 358 

Chapman & Hall, Messrs.. 98 

Chappell, Mrs.. 322, 326 

Clarendon, Lord. 408 

Clav, Frederick, 408 

Clemens, Mr. S. L. (Mark Twain). 
576, 581 

Close, John. 183-188 

" Close's Gush of Gratitude, IS/, 
188 

Cobbe, Miss F. P., 523 

Cockburn, Sir A., 468 

Coleridge. Lord. 457, 468, 568 

Rev. Derwent, 555 

Coles, Cowper, 433 

Collins, Mortimer, 103 

, Wilkie, 554 

" Coming Race, The," 466 

Connaught, Duke of, 462 

Cook, John Douglas, 60 

Cooke. Nathaniel. 391 

Cooper. T. S., 182 

Cottle. Mrs. Ehzabeth, 149 

Creasy, Sir Edward. 321 

"Creole. The." 41, 54, 57, 58 

" Crossing Sweepers," 236 

Cruikshank, George. 39. 397. 409 

" Dagon." 137 

Dalling and Bulwer, Lord, 408 
" Daughter of the Stars, The, 59 
Davison. J. W., 205. 323, 390 
De Bathe. Sir Henry. 524 
Defoe. Daniel. 442 



594 



INDEX 



Delane, John, 571 

De la Ramee, Miss, 337, 410, 413, 

433, 435 
De Lesseps, Ferdinand, 408 
Derby, Lord, 356, 371, 372 
Deutsch, Oscar, 302, 323 
Devonshire, Duke of, 571 
Dickens, Charles, I, 18, 61, 63, 126, 

164, 410, 415, 497 

(jun.), 551 

, Mrs., 416 

Dilke, Sir Charles, 497-571 
Disraeli, Benjamin, 104, 349, 373, 

376, 571 
Dixon, Hepworth, 208, 330, 427, 

440, 471, 512, 582 
Dodgson, Rev. C. L., 449, 515 
Doeg, Mr. W. H., 160 
Dore, Gustave, 97, 325, 403, 413, 435 
Doyle, Sir Francis, 482 

, Richard, 461 

Duff-Gordon, Sir Alexander, 182, 230 
Du Maurier, George, 76, 182, 197, 

203, 223, 273, 286, 291, 294, 302, 

328, 351, 352, 360, 377, 391, 409, 

413, 441, 485, 486, 511, 535, 536, 

537, 551, 576, 580 

, Mrs. (sen.), 432, 460, 466, 467 

Dunlop, Mr. George, 183, 244, 331 

Eaton, Charles, 220 
Edinburgh, Duke of, 552 
Edmunds, Mr. A. J., 244 
Edward VII, H.M. King, 412, 418, 

495, 498-501 
Edwards, Henry Sutherland, 71, 77, 

231 

, John Passmore, 209 

Egmont, Lord, 231 

" Epistle of Shegog," 151 

Era, The, 35, 41 

Escott, Mr. T. H. S., 304 

Evans, Mr. Fred, 233, 273, 282, 288, 

294, 324, 326 
, F. M., 136, 140, 141, 162, 216, 

217, 273, 294, 407, 410 
" Evening with the Speaker, An," 

237 
" Exposition, The," 59 
Eyre, Governor, 288 



Farren, Miss, 574 

, William, 59 

Fechter, C. A.. 230 



Fergusson, Miss, 460, 540, 543, 557, 
562, 569 

, Sir William, 323, 338, 559 

Fleming, Mr. W. L., 98, 212 

Fraser's Magazine, 28 

Frere, Sir Bartle, 376 

Frith, Mr. C. G., 259 

, Miss " Sissy " (Mrs. Panton), 

5, 30, 38, 70, 259, 302, 362, 469, 493 

, Mr. W. P., 70, 79, 148, 149, 

150, 151, 153, 173, 182, 231, 238, 
258-267, 268, 270, 275, 278, 289, 
291, 300, 302, 308, 315, 329, 352, 
406, 415, 469, 470, 488, 563-565. 
576, 580, 582 

, Mrs. W. P., 131, 258-267, 271, 

279, 285. 286, 492 

Furtardo, Miss, 285 

Gaskell, Lieut. -Colonel, 52 
Garibaldi, 409 
Garrod, Sir Alfred, 427 
Gentleman's Magazine, The, 312, 316, 

317 
George IV, King, 564 
" George Eliot," 435 
George, Mrs. Thorne, 307 
Germany, Emperor of, 437 
Gilbert, Sir W. S., 378-401, 508, 542 
Goddard, Arabella, 205 
Goldsmith, Oliver, 462 
" Gordian Knot, The," 142, 145 
Gladstone, W. E., 218. 329, 340, 

356, 359, 446, 472, 479, 495. 497, 

566 

, Mrs., 372 

Globe, The, 342 

Grain, Corney, 191 

Greenwood, Frederick, 572 

Grey, Lord, 359 

Grindlay & Co., Messrs., 304, 338 

Grote, George, 561 

Grove, Sir George, 361 

" Guardian Angel, The," 337 

Hall, Newman, 407 

Hannay, James, 46 

Hardman, Sir William, 412,429,502 

, Lady, 501, 533, 576 

Hardy. Mr. Thomas, 203 
Hare, Mr. John, 512 
Hastings, David, 63 
Hatton, Joseph, 312, 322 
Haweis, Rev. H. R., 516, 523 



595 



INDEX 



Hay, Cecil, 74 

Hayward, Abraham, 507 

Heber. Reginald, 341 

Hclbling, James, 432 

Helps, Sir Arthur, 323 

Hobhousc, Lord, 354 

Hodder, George, 407 

Hogarth, George, 432 

Hole. Dean, 232, 233. 523 

Hollingshead, John, 338, 554 

Home, D. D., 168, 169 

Home News, 304 

Honner, Mrs. R., 21 

" Honours and Tricks," 59 

Hood, Tom, 409 

" Horace for the Ladies," 131 

Houghton, Lord, 339 

Hughes. Sir F., 473 

Hugo, Victor, 494 

Huxley, Thomas H., 323 

" Hymn to St. Trophimus," 214 

Illustrated London News, 35, 46, 
143. 220, 331, 334. 401, 571. 572 

" Imitation Letters from Horace 
Walpole." 427 

Ingram, Herbert, 35, 46 

Inverness Courier, The, 66 

Irving, Sir Henry, 496, 540, 586 

Jackson, Mrs. Cresswick, 460 
James, Edwin, 533, 567 

of Hereford, Lord, 568 

Jeai?reson, John Cordy, 38, 158 
Jennings. Mr. Sidney, 36 
Jerrold,Blanchard.31.34,70,96,587 

, Douglas, 46, 57, 94, 157 

Joachim, Joseph, 322 
Johnson, Dr., 462 
Jones, Ernest, 333, 334 

, Mr. Parrv, 23 

, Mrs.. 460 

Kavanagh, a. M., 323 
Kean, Mrs. Charles, 518, 556 
Keeley, Robert. 336 

, Mrs., 53, 58. 80. 192. 327, 337 

Keene, Charles, 65, 82, 94. 178. 203. 

273. 284, 310, 369, 392, 402, 405, 

407, 421, 447, 524, 538 
Kemble, Charles, 450 
Kendal, Mrs.. 338. 377, 508 
Kennev, Charles. 46 
Kingslcy, Charles. 98, 182, 284, 539 
Knight, Charles. 233. 323. 523 



Labouchere, Mr. Henry, 447, 536 

Landseer, Charles, 314 

, Sir Edwin. 231, 343, 347. 350. 

470, 541 
Lawrence, Lord. 441 
Layard, Sir Henry. 120. 323, 377 
Layton, Mr. G. M., 554 
Lee. Henry. 258 
Leech, John. 115, 136, 148, 165. 168. 

196. 204, 218-223, 398. 524, 588 
Leigh, Percival. 52. 91. 92, 137, 166, 

167, 168, 195. 199. 210, 220, 222. 

225. 245. 273, 274, 281. 282. 294. 

307, 311, 318. 319. 320, 327, 365, 

399, 401 402, 405. 419. 455, 456. 

463. 465, 467, 474. 476. 478, 479. 

481. 482, 484, 490, 519, 532, 549. 

560, 565, 575, 580, 585 
Leighton, Lord. 343, 347 
Leith. Miss Emily, 542 
Leland, Mrs., 434 
Lemon, Miss Betty [see Romer, 

Lady) 

, Harry, 401 

, Mark, 40, 57, 79, 101. 105. 

116, 117, 142, 167, 174, 182, 225. 

232, 235, 241, 247. 273, 283, 284. 

294, 299, 310, 325, 360, 361, 364, 

366, 395, 396-401. 409, 410, 446, 

452, 472, 477, 481 
Lewes, George Henry, 63 
Lewis, Arthur, 231, 338 

. Mrs. Arthur. 298 

Levy, Mr. Albert, 327, 338 
" Limericks," 203 
Lincoln, Abraham, 239-248 
Linton, Mrs. Lynn, 231, 323, 337. 

409, 435, 436, 451 
Literary Gazette. The, 161. 162. 163 
Livingstone, David. 376 
London Figaro, The, 431 
Lome, Marquis of, 423 
Loseby. Miss. 574 
Louise, Princess, 423, 447 
Low, Thomas, 338 
" Lowther Arcade, The," 59 
Lytton, Lord, 371, 372, 373. 408, 

466 
Lucas. Samuel, 164. 174, 222. 332 

Macaulay. Kenneth, 337 

, Lord, 166 

Macreadv. W. C. 543. 544 
Magee, Bishop. 356, 407 



596 



INDEX 



Magician, The, 59 

Maginn, William, 28, 29 

Man in the Moon, The, 35, 42 

et seq. 
Manning, Archbishop, 346 
Marochetti, Baron, 230 
Marryat, Florence, 552 
Marshall, Miss Polly, 59 
Martineau, Harriet, 183-187, 331 

, Miss Jane, 332 

Mathews, Charles, 59, 236 
Matthews, Miss Ethel, 575 

, Frank, 53 

, Mrs., 432 

, Miss " Torie," 71, 230, 305, 

391, 394, 403, 418, 421, 428, 430, 

437, 438, 443, 450, 457, 465, 507, 

508, 509, 513, 514, 515, 518, 521, 

522, 524, 525, 539, 544, 555, 568. 

570, 574, 575, 584 
May hew, Henry, 57 
, Horace, 40, 125, 127, 128, 

138, 139, 159, 194, 258, 294. 309, 

376, 402, 467, 516, 517 
Melbourne, Lord, 185 
Meredith, Mr. George, 174, 176, 406 
Mill, John Stuart, 288 
Millais, Sir John. 220, 231, 284. 452, 

565 

, Miss, 235 

Milncr-Gibson, Mrs., 293 

"Miss Violet and her Oiifers," 105,124 

Monkbretton, Lord, 515 

" Morals at the Academy," 458 

Morgan, Matt., 296 

Morley, Mr. John, 323 

Morning Chronicle, The, 35, 48, 60 

et seq., 98 
Munro, Alexander, 351, 356, 436 
Munro, Mrs., 351, 358 
Musical World, The, 219 
Murchison, Sir Roderick, 339, 376 
Murray, Arthur, 432 

, Granville, 357 

, Henry Leigh, 253 at seq. 

, Mrs. H. Leigh, 253 et seq. 

, John, 335 

" Naggletons, The," 106 et seq. 
Napoleon, Emperor Louis, 164, 165, 
168, 169, 417, 418, 419, 448, 527 
" New Governess, The," 59, 337 
Nicholas, Emperor, 136 
Nilsson, Christine, 381 



Nicholson, J. \V., 407 
Nubar Pasha, 369 

Oakley, Dean, 520, 531 

, Miss, 520 

O'Connell, Daniel, 435 

O'Hagan, Lord, 408 

Once a Week, 18, 164, 170, 175, 222 

O'Neil, W., 258-267, 303 

Oppenheim, Mrs. (Miss Frith), 493 

Osborne, Sherard, 339, 375 

" Oswald's Well," 19 

" Oswestry," 9 et seq. 

" Our Fhght with Punch," 43 

" Our Parting Kick to 1866," 295 

Overend & Gurney, Messrs., 335, 

336 
Owen, Professor, 579 
Oxenford. John. 63. 190, 517 

Paget. Sir James. 471, 557 
Pall Mall Gazette, 235, 390-572 
Pall Mall Magazine, 405 
Palmerston. Lord, 183, 185. 27L 

272 
Panton, Mrs. {see Frith, Miss 

" Sissy ") 
Parkinson, Mr. J. C, 258-267, 325 
Parry, John, 191 
Peake, Richard Brinslev, 64 
Pemberton, Kit, 433 
" Pendennis," 555 
Pender, Sir John, 350 
Phillip, John, 408 

, Sir Benjamin, 590 

Plimsoll, Samuel, 535 

Prinsep, Val, 338 

Punch, 46, 100 et seq. 

Punch and Judy, 375, 422 

" Punch Pocket-Book," 83 

" Punch's Prophecy for the Derby," 

354, 462 
" Punch's Essence of Parliament," 

3, 62, 118 et seq., 393, 405, 442. 

510, 553, 556, 559 
Punch's Great Retractation, 241- 

248 
" Punch's Table Talk," 270 
Pusey. Dr.. 319 

Ralston, Mr. W., 475, 525 
Ramsav, Mr. Andrew, 370 
Reach. Angus B., 41. 46, 63. 64. 65, 
77, 124 



597 



INDEX 



Reade, Charles, 174. 176, 407. 534 
Reed, Mr. and Mrs. German, 191, 

323. 378 523 
Recs! OweA. 573, 582, 586 
Reeves. Sims, 330 
Renter, Baron, 150 
Richards, Brinley, 272-460 
Richmond, Duke of, 553 
Ritchie, Mrs.. 158, 178, 179, 206 
Roberts, Mr. Askew, 16 
Robertson, T. W.. 442 
Robinso i. Sir J. R., 331 
Romcr, Lady, 175 
, Mrs. Frank (see Rowe, Mrs. 

JopHng) 
Rossa, O'Donovan, 379 
Rossini, G. A., 347. 348, 353 
Rousby, Mrs., 73, 406, 460 
Rowe, Mrs. Jopling, 69, 80, 88, 97. 

312-318, 329, 333, 343, 344, 347. 

362, 363-364, 368, 369, 373, 382, 

384, 393, 394, 406, 409, 414, 452, 

453, 468, 469, 487 
Ruskin, John, 144 
Russell, Lord, 357 

of Killowen, Lord, 407 

, Sir William Howard, 61, 422, 

430, 526, 571 
" Russians in the South, The," 63 

Sabine, Charles, 8 et seq., 396 

, Margaret, 17 

, William, 1 

St. Albans, Duke of, 553 

Sala, George Augustus, 40, 46, 251 

304, 322, 337, 349, 352, 590 
Salaman, Charles, 78 
Salmon, Edward, 304 
Sambourne, Mr. Linley, 119, 329, 

456, 467, 476, 500, 559, 576, 581 
Sandon, Lord, 381 
Saturday Review, The, 60, 296, 415, 

525 
Schumann, Clara, 182 
Scott, Clement, 435 

, Sir Walter, 472 

Seaman, Mr. Owen. 101 
-Selborne. Lord, 566 
Shaftesbury, Lord, 435 
Shah of Persia, the. 547-549 
Shakespeare, William, 208 et seq. 
" Shave you Directly," 59 
Shee, Mr. Justice, 230 
Shirley, James, 38 



Shirley, Laurence, 2-38 

Sibsoii. Dr., 472 

" Silver Cord. The," 170 et seq. 

Silver. Mr. Henry, 55, 62, 75, 76, 

82, 85,87. 113-116, 121, 127, 165. 

177, 178, 192, 194, 199, 204. 212, 

223, 273, 283, 309, 353, 360 
Simpson, Palgrave, 443 
Skctchley, Arthur, 405, 434 
Sloper, Lindsay, 328 
Smith, Albert, 41, 46, 55, 57, 443 

, Mrs. Albert, 57, 407 

, Sydney, 1 

Somcrville, Mrs., 185 

Sooner or Later, 197, 216. 307 

Sothcrn, E. A.. 302. 326. 508 

, Mrs.. 330 

Soult. Marshal, 436 

Spielmann, Mr. M. H., 40, 64, 78, 

101, 111, 116, 119, 136, 244, 293, 

450, 468, 481, 585 
Spurgeon, C. H., 143, 144 
Spurgin, Dr. John, 231 
Stacy, George, 436 
Stanley, Sir H. M., 518 
" Starvation Parties," 209 
Stebbing, Rev. Henry. 431 
Stephen, Leslie, 408, 524 
Stirling, Mrs., 59, 236, 337 
" Story with a Vengeance, A," 65, 

124 
Stowe, Mrs. Beecher, 335, 361 
Sullivan, Sir Arthur, 322 
Sussex, Duke of. 339 
Swain, Mr. Joseph, 475 
Swinbourne, Mr. Algernon, 562 

" Table Book, The," 39 
Tait, Archbishop, 284 

, Mr. C. J., 71 

Talfourd, Mr. Justice, 19 

Taylor, Tom, 45. 57, 94, 101, 182. 

243, 245, 247, 251, 294, 359, 377, 

405, 408, 423. 450, 467. 527, 546 
Tenniel, Sir John, 94, 119, 143, 156, 

165, 171, 176, 182, 223, 242, 245. 

273, 294, 324, 329, 360, 393, 405. 

417, 426, 449, 476 500, 345, 547, 

576, 580 
Tennyson, Lord, 154, 243. 284 
Tenterden, Lord, 407 
Terry, Miss Ellen, 182 
, Mi.ss Kate (set Lewis, Mrs. 

Arthur) 



598 



INDEX 



Thackeray, W. M., 43. 44. 75, 79. 

158, 177. 178, 194, 205. 206, 546, 

555, 588 
Thomas. Mr. George, 71 
Thompson, Sir Henry, 383-389, 420. 

581 
Tichborne Case, The. 456, 457, 

468, 484, 510, 549 
" Timour the Tartar." 190 
Tomahawk, The, 296 
Toole, J.. 435, 537, 538. 547 
Trollope, Anthony, 526, 545. 568 
" True Story of Punch, The," 309 
Tucker, Marwood, 342 
Twain, Mark, 182 
Twiss, Quentin. 302 

Venning, Mr., 228 
Vestris, Madame, 59, 494 
Victoria, Queen, 209, 359, 375, 448, 

571 
" Victoria's Midday Review," 169, 

170 
Vizetelly, Henry, 408 
Vogue, A.. 212 
Voules, Mr. Horace, 576 

Walkinshaw, W. B., 129 
" Wallace Wight," 367, 371 



Ward. Artrmus. 281. 282, 290 

, E. M.. 434 

Warren. Samuel, 231, 237 
Warner. Mrs.. 72, 362 
Webster. Benjamin, 238. 322 
Weguelin, Christopher, 182 
Wellington, Duke of, 376. 450, 562 
Westhury. Lord. 359 
Whallev. G. H., 497 
Wharncliffe. Lord, 551 
\VhistIer, James McNeill, 333 
Wigan, Mrs., 236 
Wigwam, The. 53. 59 
Williams. Mr. Justice, 231 

, Montagu, 80, 328 

Wills, Sir Alfred, 573 

Wit and Humour, 52 

" Woman in Wliite, The," 495 

Wood, Mrs. H.. 524 

, Mrs. John, 58 

•, Mrs. Tom, 407 

Woolner, Thomas, 154 
Wright, A. B., 304 
'-, E. R.. 436 

Yates, Edmund, 1, 29. 38, 45. 69. 

78, 81. 238. 274. 302, 337, 338, 

523, 542, 567, 576 
Young, Charles Mayne, 21 



THE END 



(2397) 



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THOMAS HOOD 

HIS LIFE AND TIMES 
BY WALTER JERROLD 



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